One of the main objectives of the Civil Rights Movements was to bring an end to racial segregation. The practice of segregation forced African Americans to use separate and often inferior facilities than white people. One of the most well known examples of this was bus segregation. African Americans would be forced to sit in the “colored section” at the back of the bus and give up their seats to white passengers if that section was filled.
On December 5th,1955 in Montgomery, Alabama Rosa Parks was riding the bus when the driver, James F. Blake ordered her to give her seat to a white passenger. Parks refused and was arrested. Although Rosa Parks wasn’t the first black woman to refuse to give up her seat her arrest sparked a large protest of the Montgomery buses. This protest is known as the Montgomery bus boycott. The Monday after Parks’ arrest the black community banded together and refused to use the buses. They choose to carpool, take cabs, and even walk multiple miles. These boycotts continued on for over a full year before they ended on December 20th,1956.
Here is a recreation of Rosa Parks’ arrest from The Rosa Parks Story.
Rosa Parks’ story did not end with her arrest. Her case along with a few others was eventually brought to the Supreme Court in Browder v Gayle. The Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional which led to the repeal of segregation laws. The Montgomery bus boycott ended that same day.
Here is another video with some additional information on Rosa Parks’ legacy.
Rosa Parks was an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. She inspired hundred of individuals to stand up to injustice and fight for a better future.