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On December 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat to a white male while riding a Montgomery bus.

von Education

Rosa Parks - 1964

Rosa Parks: ~ On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake's order that she give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled.

On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks got on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her refusal to move to the back of the bus sparked a year-long boycott of the Montgomery bus system, and became an iconic moment in American history. On the 59th anniversary of Parks' arrest on that fateful day, we're celebrating her valuable contributions as a lifelong activist, organizer, and leader of the the Civil Rights Movement.

von Sunny Nash - Ethnicity and Culture

Rosa Parks, Homer Plessy and Jim Crow

montgomery bus | Rosa Parks on Montgomery Bus

Rosa Parks Had a Life of Radical Activism Before the Bus Boycott

She was arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus — nine months before Rosa Parks. Today, she was honored for her “tremendous contributions to the civil rights movement.” When asked how she worked up the courage to defy the bus driver in 1955 Montgomery, Colvin said: “What gave me the courage? I was a 15-year old!”

Rosa Parks | She was a secretary for the NAACP, who refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white person, and she became an inspiration to...

With a few clicks of the mouse, it’s now possible to view thousands of the civil rights icon’s papers and photographs.

Montgomery, AL: March 21, 1965. Selma to Montgomery March for voting rights: Rosa Parks, whose refusal to move to back of bus touched off Montgomery bus boycott, addresses Selma marchers from steps of state capitol building in Montgomery. © 1976 Matt Herron/Take Stock / The Image Works