On Thursday, December 1, 1955, the 42-year-old Rosa Parks was commuting home from a long day of work at the Montgomery Fair department store by bus. Black residents of Montgomery often avoided municipal buses if possible because they found the Negroes-in-back policy so demeaning. Nonetheless, 70 percent or more riders on a typical day were black, and on this day Rosa Parks was one of them.
Segregation was written into law; the front of a Montgomery bus was reserved for white citizens, and the seats behind them for black citizens. However, it was only by custom that bus drivers had the authority to ask a black person to give up a seat for a white rider. There were contradictory Montgomery laws on the books: One said segregation must be enforced, but another, largely ignored, said no person (white or black) could be asked to give up a seat even if there were no other seat on the bus available.
Nonetheless, at one point on the route, a white man had no seat because all the seats in the designated “white” section were taken. So the driver told the riders in the four seats of the first row of the “colored” section to stand, in effect adding another row to the “white” section. The three others obeyed. Parks did not.
“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired,” wrote Parks in her autobiography, “but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
Eventually, two police officers approached the stopped bus, assessed the situation and placed Parks in custody.
Show MoreOn December 1st, 1955, something extraordinary happened. An African American seamstress known as Rosa Parks preformed a bold action when she chose not to abandon her seat on the bus to a white man who needed it. In modern times, this wouldn’t be such a big deal. However, back in the 1900s, when there was an immense amount of racial segregation, it was a huge deal. Any African American who disobeyed a white could be severely punished. Sometimes the blacks were killed by the whites. Once again, it wasn’t as big of a deal back then. None of the whites ever believed it was a concern, and they never considered themselves murderers. After being told to move, and refusing, Parks got arrested and fined ten dollars (American Woman’s History). Her…show more content…
The first ten rows of the bus were reserved for the whites, and the few back rows were for the blacks. If there were not enough seats in the white section, the blacks had to either move back or get off the bus. This was the start of Rosa’s bus incident. A white man asked Rosa to let him have her seat, and she refused. The bus driver asked Parks and three other African American passengers to move. The three other African Americans did as they were told, but Parks remained in her seat. Eventually, Rosa was forced off of the bus. She was arrested and fined ten dollars (American Woman’s History). After the word got around about Rosa’s actions, African Americans felt the need to protest. On December 5, 1955, the civil rights leaders of Montgomery called a one day boycott of the local busses. Every African American in Montgomery had to stay off of any public transportation. If they did not, there would be a smaller chance of them getting any equality at all. The only way that the African Americans knew they would have a chance of getting what they wanted was to be extremely persistent. If they weren’t persistent, they would most likely get overlooked by the whites. They had to command the whites give them respect. Some of the blacks rode in cars together, but most of them walked on foot. Many had to walk miles to get to where they needed to go. When the whites tried to prevent the boycott, African Americans decided to extend the boycott to about