Birthday of Rosa Parks

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On this day in 1913, Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was born. She would become a lightning rod of the Civil Rights movement after December 1st, 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama for a white passenger at the request of the bus driver. This sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. At the time, she was working for the local chapter for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and as a seamstress in a department store, although her refusal to move was not premeditated. She was arrested for not obeying the bus driver, found guilty and fined. Organizing with figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., E. D. Nixon and others, this begat the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted more than a year (from December 5, 1955 until December 20, 1956). As African Americans comprised the majority of bus riders, this severely, adversely affected the Montgomery public transit system. The battle went to the courts, where on June 4, 1956 a federal district court ruled that the segregation laws for the buses were unconstitutional. Because of appeals, the court battle continued until November 13, 1956 when the Supreme Court upheld the other court’s ruling. After 381 days of protest, the bus boycott had ended with Rosa Parks, Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement emerging as prominent figures and ideas in the national consciousness. Later in life she was awarded many honors and medals, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Bill Clinton in 1996.

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