Today in Religion – Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a bus and give her seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama. I had heard the story that Rosa Parks refused to move to the back because she was tired. In actuality that is not the whole story.

Born in 1913, Rosa Parks and her family moved to Montgomery, Alabama when she was 11 years old. At 19 she married Raymond Parks who supported her goal of obtaining her high school degree. Later, despite Raymond’s protests, in 1943, Rosa joined the NAACP, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She quickly became the chapter secretary.

On that fateful night in 1955, Rosa sat in the front row of the black section of the bus. Enough people boarded the bus that the white section filled leaving one white man standing. The bus driver then proceeded to tell the people sitting in the front row of the black section to move back a row to give the white people more seats. While the three other people moved, Rosa Parks refused. In her words, she said, “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

The NAACP president Nixon convinced Parks to fight, and they started the boycott of the bus system. This resulted in the attention of the nation and the formation of the Montgomery Improvement Association with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as president. Eventually, bus segregation was ruled unconstitutional. Rosa Parks’ small act of defiance earned her the title “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement”.

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