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These newly-acquired papers and photographs offer a rare look into the ideas and activities of a woman who changed the nation—not just on a single day on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus see 20 but over the course of her life.


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It is impossible to know what she might have been thinking that March day in outside the Montgomery County courthouse. The prim woman in the photograph, gripping her handbag with white-gloved hands, wore a neat overcoat and an uneasy expression behind her wire-rimmed eyeglasses. Was she about to step to the microphones to speak, or had she just stepped away from them?

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Rosa Parks was a civil rights leader whose refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Her bravery led to nationwide efforts to end racial segregation.

Parks was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Both of Parks' grandparents were formerly enslaved people and strong advocates for racial equality; the family lived on the Edwards' farm, where Parks would spend her youth. Parks' childhood brought her early experiences with racial discrimination and activism for racial equality.

Rosa parks

In one experience, Parks' grandfather stood in front of their house with a shotgun while Ku Klux Klan members marched down the street. Throughout Parks' education, she attended segregated schools. Taught to read by her mother at a young age, Parks attended a segregated, one-room school in Pine Level, Alabama, that often lacked adequate school supplies such as desks.

African American students were forced to walk to the first through sixth-grade schoolhouse, while the city of Pine Level provided bus transportation as well as a new school building for white students.

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Inwhile in the 11th grade and attending a laboratory school for secondary education led by the Alabama State Teachers College for Negroes, Parks left school to attend to both her sick grandmother and mother back in Pine Level. Parks didn't return to her studies. Instead, she got a job at a shirt factory in Montgomery. After marrying inshe earned her high school degree in with her husband's support.

Montgomery bus boycott

Nixon — a post she held until The couple never had children. On December 1,Parks was arrested for refusing a bus driver's instructions to give up her seat to a white passenger. She later recalled that her refusal wasn't because she was physically tired, but that she was tired of giving in.

After a long day's work at a Montgomery department store, where she worked as a seamstress, Parks boarded the I Rosa AL seeking woman Avenue bus for home. She took a seat in the first of several rows deated for "colored" passengers. The Montgomery City Code required that all public transportation be segregated and that bus drivers had the "powers of a police officer of the city while in actual charge of any bus for the purposes of carrying out the provisions" of the code. While operating a bus, drivers were required to provide separate but equal accommodations for white and Black passengers by asing seats.

This was accomplished with a line roughly in the middle of the bus separating white passengers in the front of the bus and African American passengers in the back. When an African American passenger boarded the bus, they had to get on at the front to pay their fare and then get off and re-board the bus at the back door. As the bus Parks was riding continued on its route, it began to fill with white passengers.

Eventually, the bus was full and the driver noticed that several white passengers were standing in the aisle. The bus driver stopped the bus and moved the separating the two sections back one row, asking four Black passengers to give up their seats.

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The city's bus ordinance didn't specifically give drivers the authority to demand a passenger to give up a seat to anyone, regardless of color. However, Montgomery bus drivers had adopted the custom of moving back the separating Black and white passengers and, if necessary, asking Black passengers to give up their seats to white passengers. If the Black passenger protested, the bus driver had the authority to refuse service and could call the police to have them removed.

54b. rosa parks and the montgomery bus boycott

Three of the other Black passengers on the bus complied with the driver, but Parks refused and remained seated. The driver demanded, "Why don't you stand up? The police arrested Parks at the scene and charged her with violation of Chapter 6, Section 11, of the Montgomery City Code. She was taken to police headquarters, where, later that night, she was released on bail.

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Members of the African American community were asked to stay off city buses on Monday, December 5, — the day of Parks' trial — in protest of her arrest. People were encouraged to stay home from work or school, take a cab or walk to work. With most of the African American community not riding the bus, organizers believed a longer boycott might be successful. The Montgomery Bus Boycottas it came to be known, was a huge success, lasting for days and ending with a Supreme Court ruling declaring segregation on public transit systems to be unconstitutional.

Nixon began forming plans to organize a boycott of Montgomery's city buses on December 1, the evening that Parks was arrested.

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were placed in local papers, and handbills were printed and distributed in Black neighborhoods. On the morning of December 5, a group of leaders from the African American community gathered at the Mt. Zion Church in Montgomery to discuss strategies and determined that their boycott effort required a new organization and strong leadership.

The MIA believed that Parks' case provided an excellent opportunity to take further action to create real change. When Parks arrived at the courthouse for trial that morning with her attorney, Fred Gray, she was greeted by a bustling crowd of around local supporters, who rooted her on.

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Inarguably the biggest event of the day, however, was what Parks' trial had triggered. The city's buses were, by and large, empty. Some people carpooled and others rode in African American-operated cabs, but most of the estimated 40, African American commuters living in the city at the time had opted to walk to work that day — some as far as 20 miles. Due to the size and scope of, and loyalty to, boycott participation, the effort continued for several months. The city of Montgomery had become a victorious eyesore, with dozens of public buses sitting idle, ultimately severely crippling finances for its transit company.

With the boycott's progress, however, came strong resistance. Some segregationists retaliated with violence. Black churches were burned, and both King and E. Nixon's homes were destroyed by bombings.

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Still, further attempts were made to end the boycott. The insurance was canceled for the city taxi system that was used by African Americans. Black citizens were arrested for violating an antiquated law prohibiting boycotts.

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In response to the ensuing events, members of the African American community took legal action. Armed with the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which stated that separate but equal policies had no place in public education, a Black legal team took the issue of segregation on public transit systems to the U. Parks' attorney, Fred Gray, filed the suit. In Junethe district court declared racial segregation laws also known as "Jim Crow laws" unconstitutional. The city of Montgomery appealed the court's decision shortly thereafter, but on November 13,the U. Supreme Court upheld the lower court's ruling, declaring segregation on public transport to be unconstitutional.

With the transit company and downtown businesses suffering financial loss and the legal system ruling against them, the city of Montgomery had no choice but to lift its enforcement of segregation on public buses, and the boycott officially ended on December 20, The combination of legal action, backed by the unrelenting determination of the African American community, made the Montgomery Bus Boycott one of the largest and most successful mass movements against racial segregation in history. Although she had i Rosa AL seeking woman a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement i Rosa AL seeking woman, Parks suffered hardship in the months following her arrest in Montgomery and the subsequent boycott.

She lost her department store job and her husband was fired after his boss forbade him to talk about his wife or their legal case. Unable to find work, they eventually left Montgomery and moved to Detroit, Michigan along with Parks' mother. There, Parks made a new life for herself, working as a secretary and receptionist in U. Representative John Conyer's congressional office.

She also served on the board of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The organization runs "Pathways to Freedom" bus tours, introducing young people to important civil rights and Underground Railroad sites throughout the country. Inshe published Quiet Strengthwhich includes her memoirs and focuses on the role that religious faith played throughout her life. The song featured the chorus:. Ina judge dismissed the defamation claims. On April 14,the case was settled. On October 24,Parks quietly died in her apartment in Detroit, Michigan at the age of She had been diagnosed the year with progressive dementia, which she had been suffering from since at least Parks' death was marked by several memorial services, among them, lying in honor at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.

She was interred between her husband and mother at Detroit's Woodlawn Cemetery, in the chapel's mausoleum. Shortly after her death, the chapel was renamed the Rosa L. Parks Freedom Chapel. The following year, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award given by the U. February 4, marked what would have been Parks' th birthday. In celebration, a commemorative U. Postal Service stamp, called the Rosa Parks Forever stamp and featuring a rendition of the famed activist, debuted. He remembered Parks, according to The New York Timesby saying "In a single moment, with the simplest of gestures, she helped change America and change the world.

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Subscribe to the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. Claudette Colvin is an activist who was a pioneer in the civil rights movement in Alabama during the s.

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She refused to give up her seat on a bus months before Rosa Parks' more famous protest. Nixon was a Pullman porter and civil rights leader who worked with Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Abolitionist and women's rights activist Sojourner Truth is best known for her speech on racial inequalities, "Ain't I a Woman?

"beyond the bus: rosa parks’ lifelong struggle for justice"

Jo Ann Robinson organized a city bus boycott by African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama, in that changed the course of civil rights in America. Susan B. Anthony was a suffragist, abolitionist, author and speaker who was the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Ida B.