1955 December 1

Rosa Parks Refuses to Give Up Her Seat – Inspires Historic Bus Boycott


On this day, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Her act launched the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott, in which members of the African-American community refused to ride on the city’s buses. The Montgomery Bus Boycott became one of the iconic events of the civil rights movement. Parks was seated in the “colored” section of the bus, but the white section was filled and, in accordance with the law, she was required to give up her seat if a white person asked for it. Parks was convicted on December 5, 1955, and that day also marked the beginning of the bus boycott.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott inspired a generation of Americans, black and white, but in fact buses were ordered integrated by a federal lawsuit, Browder v. Gayle, that began on March 2, 1955, nine months before Rose Parks acted, and which was finally settled by the Supreme Court on December 17, 1956.

In 2016 the Library of Congress placed digital copies of the entire collection of the Rosa Parks Papers on its web site, making it readily available for browsing, learning, and research. The collection consists of 7,500 manuscript items and 2,500 photographs and prints. The collection is owned by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, who has loaned it to the Library of Congress for 10 years. (Howard Buffett s the son of the famous investor Warren Buffett.)

Visit the Rosa Parks collection at the Library of Congress and learn: https://www.loc.gov/collections/rosa-parks-papers/about-this-collection/

Read Rosa Parks’ 1956 description of the boycott: http://www.crmvet.org/disc/parks_mbb.pdf

Read her story: Rosa Parks, with Jim Haskins, Rosa Parks: My Story (1992)

Watch a 1983 interview with Rosa Parks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3h6s9jxZtE

Read: Stewart Burns, Daybreak of Freedom: The Montgomery Bus Boycott (1997)

Visit the Rosa Parks Library and Museum, Troy University, Montgomery, AL: http://visitingmontgomery.com/play/rosa-parks-library-museum-childrens-wing

Learn more; Rosa Parks’ arrest records, and morehttp://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/rosa-parks/

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