Sunday 1 December 2013

7053. Or: Taking the Bus in 1955. Or: Rosa Parks Day

"When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up, and I said, 'No, I'm not.' And he said, 'Well, if you don't stand up, I'm going to have to call the police and have you arrested.' I said, 'You may do that.'"

Two days are dedicated to Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (1913-2005), the "first lady of civil rights" and "mother of the freedom movement" who would have turned 100 in 2013: her birthday in February and the day of her arrest on 1 December 1955.

That day Parks refused to obey the bus driver's order to give up her seat in the "coloured section" to a white passenger as the "white section" was filled. It was, by the way, the same bus driver that in 1943 had told her to to leave the bus and  - following the city rules - enter it again from the back door. Parks exited the bus but could not reboard it as the driver drove off and left her in the rain.

Refusing to give up her seat meant violating the segregation law of the Montgomery City Code which had been passed in 1900. Parks was arrested for civil obedience. Only a few days later the Montgomery Bus Boycott was announced asking people to stay off the buses on the day of boycott. Some rode in carpools or took black-operated taxis that only charged the fare of the bus; most of the people walked, some of them for about 30 km (via)... Rosa Parks stood up by sitting down (via).

"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, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

Photos via and via and via and via and via


  1. "Rosa Parks stood up by sitting down." Love this very line.

    1. I like this line, too. It's not from me ;-)
      Thank you, Tim!

  2. Abbie Winterburn2 December 2013 at 11:06

    An exceptional person she was.

    1. It is amazing what impact an individual can have. Exceptional, indeed.
      Thank you, Abbie.

  3. Frans Gunnarsson2 December 2013 at 11:54

    Such an interesting and bright face Rosa Parks had.