In Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, laws still existed which limited the rights of black citizens. One such law required that black people had to sit in the rear of a public bus and if a white person wanted to sit down they must give up their seat.
On December 1, 1955, a woman who worked as a seamstress was going home on the bus from work. The woman’s name was Rosa Parks. After Parks had taken her seat, a white man demanded to sit down. Parks did not want to give up her seat and refused to move. The bus was stopped and Rosa Parks was arrested and thrown in jail.
To protest her arrest and unfair treatment, many local black leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., organized a bus boycott. Aproximately 75% of the bus passengers at the time were African American. Blacks found other ways to get to and from work and to other commitments. They walked, formed carpools, and rode bicycles. The year-long boycott devestated the bus company. It ended on December 21, 1956, when the city announced that it would comply with the ruling by the Supreme Court which declared bus segregation to be unconstitutional.
- Rosa Parks by Grand Times - offers a more indepth view of Parks then and now.
- Rosa Parks in the National Women's Hall of Fame
- Rosa Parks: an interview by the Hall of Public Service