On 1 December 1955
Ms. Rosa Parks
a 42 year old Black American woman
boarded a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama – USA.
(image from huffingtonpost.com):
After a long day of work at her job as a seamstress,
she was relieved to find a vacant seat for the journey home.
This was the era when Jim Crow laws
– enacted between 1867 -1965-
ruled throughout the southern states of the U.S. –
of which Alabama was one.
These laws enforced racial segregation in all public facilities/areas.
Although Black Americans were legally ‘freed men and women’ –
as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation signed
into law by President Abraham Lincoln (1863);
Jim Crow laws continued the legacy of slavery.
Black Americans were still harshly treated and
dismissed as second class citizens
Ms. Rosa Parks was actively involved in the local
civil rights movement, in efforts to address racial inequality.
But on that fateful day she merely wanted to sit
during her homebound bus ride.
Ms. Parks settled into a seat in the ‘Coloured section’,
behind those at the front, reserved for White passengers.
The bus soon became full and all seats occupied.
A White man later boarded the bus.
No seats were available in the ‘White section’.
Following the guidelines of the Jim Crow segregation laws,
the driver instructed Ms. Parks and four other Black passengers
to vacant their seats so that the White passenger could sit.
All complied, except one: Ms. Rosa Parks.
She was arrested and convicted for defiant actions against segregation laws.
(image from usnews.com):
Ms. Rosa Parks, being fingerprinted following her arrest
She appealed, thus challenging the legality of segregation.
Her quiet yet firm refusal to ‘move to the back of the bus’
was taken up as the rallying cry
which would give full voice to a coordinated, national
Civil Rights Movement.
Change … the power of positive action