On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white passenger as was required at the time.
Parks was a seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama at the time seemingly an ordinary citizen, but one that had finally had enough of segregation.
The bus driver had her arrested. She was tried and convicted of violating a local ordinance for her act of defiance.
Her brave act resulted in several crucial steps forward in the civil rights movement of the late 20th century:
- Blacks in Montgomery boycotted the bus system for over a year in protest.
- The boycott raised Martin Luther King, Jr. to national prominence. Previous to this he was virtually unknown.
- Resulted in Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation on city buses.
- For over 40 years she helped make Americans aware of the history of the civil rights struggle.
- She was eventually awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- Rosa Parks example of gentle resistance remains an inspiration to the w0rld.