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Rosa Parks rides bus to desegregation

by Shelly Awaya, Lifestyles editor

Segregation was still deeply rooted in the South during the 1950s. Although steps toward equality for blacks came with the Brown v. Board of Education decision to stop segregation in schools, separation between blacks and whites still occurred in other public activities, such as riding the bus.

By challenging this, Rosa Parks became known as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.”
After a long day’s work on Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, 43, paid her fare on a Montgomery, Ala. bus and took a seat at the mid-section of the bus.

The bus began to fill with passengers, and according to segregation laws, blacks were required to give up their seats to white people who were standing in the bus.

The bus driver got up and asked Parks, along with one black man and two black women, to move to the back of the bus so a white man could sit down. The other black passengers complied, however Parks refused. When asked again, she didn’t budge.

The driver called the police and Parks was arrested.

Five days after her arrest, Parks was found guilty of disorderly conduct and was fined.

This was the spark that ignited the push for civil rights.

Parks’ courage drove other blacks to start the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the newly installed president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, the black people of Montgomery walked, carpooled, or found alternate transportation.

The Montgomery Improvement Association filed suit in federal court alleging discrimination by the bus service. On June 2, 1956, the federal court ruled segregation on buses unconstitutional.
An appeal was sent to the United States Supreme Court, where the lower court’s ruling was upheld.

The boycott ended 381 days later, and for the first time, Parks could step onto a bus and sit wherever she chose.


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