Saturday, December 1, 2012


December 1, 2012


                   Rosa Parks & MLK
      Montgomery, Alabama (1955)
      US Information Agency Photo

Montgomery, Alabama (JFK+50) 57 years ago today, December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested here in Montgomery, Alabama for violation of the city's segregation code, Chapter 6, Section 11.*  

Ms. Parks, on her way home from work, boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus in downtown Montgomery at 6 p.m.  She sat 5 rows back in the 1st row reserved for "colored" people.

When the bus reached the 3rd stop in front of the Empire Theater, bus driver James Blake ordered Ms. Parks & 3 other black passengers to give up their seats to the boarding white passengers.

The 3 other passengers followed Blake's directions.  Ms. Parks did not.

Mr. Blake called the police & Rosa Parks was arrested, taken to jail, & charged.*

*When JFK+50 visited the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, we learned that Mrs. Park's action was not the first of its kind in the city & that she had training in non-violent protest.  She was "prepared" to do what she did but it was she who would decide when to do it.

             Cleveland Avenue Bus
               Henry Ford Museum
              Source: Eege Fot vum

Mrs. Park's arrest led directly to the Montgomery Bus Boycott led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The boycott, lasting 381 days, cost the bus company a great deal of money as most of their bus riders were black.  

The boycott came to an end when the United States Supreme Court ruled segregation laws on public transportation in Montgomery unconstitutional. 

Segregation in public transportation did not come to an end nationally until passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  

This act was proposed by JFK but did not have enough support in Congress until after his death.**

**Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was born in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1913.  She had to walk to her elementary school while fellow white students rode the bus.  She later said:

"I'd see the bus pass every day.  But to me, that was a way of life.  The bus was among the 1st ways I realized there was a black world & a white world."

Rosa Parks was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999 as the 'Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.'  She died at the age of 92 on Oct 24, 2005.

President Clinton Honors Rosa Parks

JFK+50  Note:

Today's posting is a revision of the 4th most popular post on JFK+50 dated December 1, 2010.


Just learned from that the arrest record for Ms. Parks has Mr. Blake as both the "complainant" & signer of the warrant.