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December 1st is Rosa Parks Day

Rosa Parks Day honors an American Civil Rights hero twice a year on February 4th or December 1st. The holiday recognizes the civil rights leader Rosa Parks 

On December 1, 1955, after a long Thursday at work, Rosa Parks boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She took her seat in the ‘colored’ section. As she rode the Cleveland Avenue bus home, the bus began to fill.

The Montgomery city ordinance allowed bus drivers to assign seating. However, it did not permit them to demand passengers give up their seats. Despite this, bus drivers customarily required black passengers to give up their seats to white passengers when public transportation became full.

When the bus driver asked Parks to give up her seat, she refused. Police arrested her, and what followed is Civil Rights history. On December 5, 1955, the courts found Parks guilty of violating the city ordinance and fined her $10 plus a court fee.

African American leaders, including E.D. Nixon and Martin Luther King, Jr. organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott for the date of Rosa Park’s trial. The boycott succeeded and lasted several months, devastating the transportation system in Montgomery.

Learn more about Rosa Parks, her experiences on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and her role in the Civil Rights movement. Discover how the Montgomery Bus Boycott affected the bussing system. Several books and films offer insight to this day in history and the Civil Rights movement to follow. 

  • Quiet Strength: The Faith, the Hope, and the Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation by Gregory J. Reed and Rosa Parks
  • Rosa Parks by Rosa Parks
  • She Would Not Be Moved by Herbert R. Kohl
  • Boycott (2001)
  • Selma (2014)

You can also visit the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University. Use #RosaParksDay to post on social media. 

The California State Legislature created Rosa Parks Day and first celebrated February 4, 2000. California chose to recognize the date of Rosa Park’s birth. Ohio and Oregon celebrate on the date of her arrest, December 1.

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