Today in History: Rosa Parks is arrested

Today in History for December 1st
Today in History for December 1st

60 years ago today, African American woman Rosa Parks refused to relinquish her bus seat to a white man in Tuskegee, Alabama, knowingly violating her city's racial segregation laws.

What happened next was the catalyst for one of the biggest boycotts of the entire Civil Rights movement.

Parks sat down on the bus on Dec. 1, 1955, not knowing she would soon be known as "The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement."

SEE ALSO: Obama: Women made civil rights movement happen

Parks was born and raised in Tuskegee in 1913. While working as a seamstress in 1943, the woman joined the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Due to segregation laws, African Americans were required to not only sit in the back of the bus, but also to give up their seats to white passengers if the bus filled up.

Unlike the popular legend, Parks' refusal to relinquish her seat to a white man was not as spontaneous as most believe. Parks knew that civil rights leaders had been discussing ways to challenge the Montgomery's racist laws for months now and took advantage of the moment at hand.

See photos of Rosa Parks' arrest:

%shareLinks-quote="Upon hearing about Parks' arrest, NAACP leaders organized a boycott of the Montgomery bus system. Thus began the famous Montgomery Bus Boycotts." type="spreadWord"%
Following a wildly successful first day of protests, Rev. Martin Luther King emerged as a leader for the bus boycotts after sharing a powerful message to the crowd full of African Americans and civil rights activists.

%shareLinks-quote="The great glory of American democracy is the right to protest for right." type="quote" author="Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr." authordesc="Dec. 5, 1955" isquoteoftheday="false"%

The Montgomery Bus Boycotts lasted for more than a year. With more than 70 percent of its bus ridership missing, the municipal transit system in Montgomery suffered major losses.

It wasn't until Nov. 13, 1956 that the United States Supreme Court ruled that Alabama's and Montgomery's bus segregation laws were in violation of the 14th amendment.

When the boycotts ended the next day, it was Rosa Parks who rode one of the first desegregated buses.

Upon Parks' death in 2005, the government allowed her body to lie in honor at Capitol Rotunda, as a special courtesy to the woman who sparked one of the biggest campaigns of the civil rights movement.

Watch below to learn more about Rosa Parks' legacy:

Rosa Parks - Legacy
Rosa Parks - Legacy

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