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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Actions of One

Sixty years ago to the date Rosa Parks took a seat on the Montgomery bus. She unknowingly became a leader in a battle that would lead to freedoms for many when she refused to give her seat up to a white person and move to the back on a Montgomery Alabama city bus. The civil rights movement would make this action political in nature. The boycott of the bus service would be a standing point for the civil right action.

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was born on February 4 1913. She became an African American Civil Rights activist, whom the United States Congress called "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement" She was arrested December 1, 1955 in Montgomery Alabama after refusing to obey the bus drivers order to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled.

She was not the first person to resist bus segregation but the NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws. It was Park's act of defiance and the Montgomery bus boycott that became important symbols of the modern civil rights movement. Rosa Parks would become an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders such as Edgar Nixon and Martin Luther King Jr.

At the time of her action Rosa Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of NAACP and had attended a training for activists for worker rights and racial equality. She was "tired of giving in" and took a seat and while honored for it she also suffered for the action. She lost her job as a seamstress in a local department store, and received death threats for years. She moved to Detroit where she briefly found work as a seamstress. In 1965 she would serve as secretary and receptionist to John Conyers and African American U.S. representative. She was active in the Black Power movement and support of political prisoners in the U.S. In 1988 Rosa would retire and write her own story. She lived a private life in Detroit but was recognized largely by many for her actions that December 1st day.

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