Monday, December 1, 2008

Today In History

On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, defied the law by refusing to give up her seat to a white man aboard a Montgomery, Ala., city bus. Parks was arrested, sparking a year-long boycott of the buses by blacks. It's hard to believe that just 53 years later a black man has been elected President of the United States! Rosa Parks is a true American hero.

Here's the original AP story:

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The arrest of a Negro who refused to move to the colored section of a city bus may bring a court test of segregated transportation in the cradle of Confederacy.
While thousands of other Negroes boycotted Montgomery City Lines in protest, Mrs. Rosa Parks was fined $14 in police court today for disregarding a driver's order to move to the rear of a bus last Thursday.

Negro passengers ride in the rear of buses here; white passengers in front under a municipal segregation ordinance.

An emotional crowd of Negroes, estimated by police at 5,000, roared approval tonight to continue the boycott.

Spokesmen at the meeting said the boycott would continue until people who ride buses are no longer "intimidated, embarrassed and coerced." They said a "declaration of citizens" is ready to help city and bus line officials develop a program that would be "satisfactory and equitable."

The boycott was organized after circulars were distributed in Negro residential areas Saturday urging "economic reprisal" against the bus company.

Mrs. Parks appealed her $14 fine and was released under $100 bond signed by Negro attorney Fred Gray and a former state president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, E. D. Nixon.

Gray and Charles Langford, another Negro lawyer representing the 42-year-old department store seamstress, refused to say whether they plan to attack constitutionality of the segregation laws affecting public transportation.

But Gray told The Associated Press that "every issue will be raised that I think is necessary to defend my client."

Rosa Parks was not trying to make a political statement or start the civil rights movement, she was tired that day and just wanted to sit.

No comments: