Rosa Parks, a seamstress from Montgomery, Alabama, who would not give up her bus seat to a white man in 1955, died Monday at the age of 92. Historians mark the date of her quiet-but-revolutionary act as the start of the modern civil rights movement in the United States.
If you had seen Rosa Parks walking down the street, in recent years, you would never guess that the slender, silver-haired lady with large spectacles had anything to do with an event that ignited black civil rights as one of the main national issues of the middle 20th Century.
On December 1, 1955, Mrs. Parks had finished her work as a seamstress in a Montgomery, Alabama, store and boarded a city bus to go home. She took a seat in the 11th row, behind the seats reserved exclusively for white passengers, as required by the city’s segregation law at that time. Blacks were entitled to seats from the 11th row to the rear of a bus. However, the city law said if the first 10 rows were filled, a white passenger could request a seat in the back of a bus. Rosa Parks remembered the bus was crowded with people standing in the aisle when several whites boarded. A white man told the driver he wanted a seat. The driver, who had the authority under city law, went to the rear of the bus and ordered Mrs. Parks and three other black passengers to get up. The others reluctantly stood. Rosa Parks, tired after a day of work, refused. Read full article