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Sat Dec 1, 2012, 11:06 AM

Dec 1, 1955-- a woman refuses to give up her seat, and the world changes

Rosa Parks


Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 October 24, 2005) was an African-American civil rights activist, whom the U.S. Congress called "the first lady of civil rights", and "the mother of the freedom movement".

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake's order that she give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation. Others had taken similar steps in the twentieth century, including Irene Morgan in 1946, Sarah Louise Keys in 1955, and Claudette Colvin nine months before Parks. NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience.

Parks' act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement.

At the time, Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. She had recently attended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee center for training activists for workers' rights and racial equality. She acted as a private citizen "tired of giving in". Although widely honored in later years, she also suffered for her act; she was fired from her job as a seamstress in a local department store.

Eventually, she moved to Detroit, Michigan, where she briefly found similar work. From 1965 to 1988 she served as secretary and receptionist to John Conyers, an African-American U.S. Representative. After retirement, Parks wrote her autobiography, and lived a largely private life in Detroit. In her final years, she suffered from dementia. In 1999, a lawsuit was filed on her behalf against Outkast and LaFace Records due to their unauthorized use of her name in their 1998 song, "Rosa Parks".

Parks received national recognition, including the NAACP's 1979 Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall. Upon her death in 2005, she was the first woman and second non-U.S. government official to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda.

. . . .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Parks

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Reply Dec 1, 1955-- a woman refuses to give up her seat, and the world changes (Original post)
niyad Dec 2012 OP
niyad Dec 2012 #1
monmouth3 Dec 2012 #2
niyad Dec 2012 #4
democrattotheend Dec 2012 #3
niyad Dec 2012 #5
Plucketeer Dec 2012 #12
Phentex Dec 2012 #18
chieftain Dec 2012 #6
alcibiades_mystery Dec 2012 #7
niyad Dec 2012 #8
KurtNYC Dec 2012 #9
bluedigger Dec 2012 #10
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #11
excringency Dec 2012 #13
niyad Dec 2012 #15
Spirochete Dec 2012 #14
niyad Dec 2012 #16
Spirochete Dec 2012 #17

Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 11:14 AM

1. rosa parks



In Montgomery Alabama not a long time ago
A colored lady sat down on the bus
She was tired, she did day work
She scrubbed floors, her feet hurt
And since that day, she changed the world for us

Because she said, No sir, I wont get up.
Im tired and I want to sit down and I wont get up.
You can talk about Martin Luther King,
Have demonstrations, anything
Just remember who began it Rosa Parks!

Well in this wide and wicked world, tell me
What kind of man
Would say to a nice old lady, Nxxx, get up!
Well she was just like me and you
And she did what she must do
And she said, No sir, I wont get up.

And she said, No sir, I wont get up.
Im tired and I want to sit down and I wont get up.
You can talk about Martin Luther King,
Have demonstrations, anything
Just remember who began it Rosa Parks!

Well one day the South will rise
And the North will realize
Who our heroes really truly are
And then well tear down those statues
Of Robert E. Lee
And put one up for good ole Rosie Parks!

Because she said, No sir, I wont get up.
Im tired and I want to sit down and I wont get up.
You can talk about Martin Luther King,
Have demonstrations, anything
Just remember who began it Rosa Parks!

http://www.kristinlems.com/?section=music-169

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 11:14 AM

2. I was in the eighth grade when this happened, up north. The black kids were all talking about it

and seemed shocked when we white kids agreed Ms. Parks was a hero. Those were some times and the beginning of the fight for civil rights. It was also a time when the black community realized they had a lot of white peoples support...

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Response to monmouth3 (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 11:21 AM

4. welcome to DU. I wasn't in school yet, didn't learn about it until later, even though I was

in the south then. it horrified me years later when I went back to realize that kind of racism was still rampant.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 11:18 AM

3. It's sad that she died when she did

I was in DC at the time and saw them drive the bus where she refused to give up her seat driven through the city as a memorial. I don't know how they figured out which exact bus it was, but it was a really moving tribute.

But now it makes me really sad that she did not live three more years, so she could have witnessed Obama's election, which probably never would have been possible without her brave refusal to give up her seat on the bus.

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 11:22 AM

5. "we stand on the shoulders of giants"



Alabama Civil Rights Museum Trail

In Alabama, museums, bridges, churches and other sites chronicle key episodes of America's civil rights movement. Walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma during the annual Bridge Crossing, commemorating the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March. Tour the National Voting Rights Museum and visit Brown Chapel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. launched the Voting Rights Movement. Then follow the Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail to Lowndes County, where antebellum history and sweeping plantation homes are juxtaposed against the backdrop of the civil rights struggle.

In Montgomery, visit the Civil Rights Memorial Center. Learn the stories of 40 activists who died during the movement between 1955 and 1968; then run your hands through the cool waters of the memorial behind it. Tour the State Capitol building, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, Alabama State University and the Rosa Parks Museum, where the quiet courage of a seamstress is retold in dramatic style.

In Tuskegee, at the Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center, see videos and exhibits on the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and learn about a pioneering civil rights lawyer named Fred Gray, who represented participants of the infamous study, as well as Dr. King, Rosa Parks and others. Stand in the midst of black aviation history at Moton Field, and follow the road to excellence at historic Tuskegee University.

At the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, touch the bars behind which King penned his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, sit in the tranquility of Kelly Ingram Park, and visit the church across the street where four little girls were killed by a racist's bomb. Marilyn Jones Stamps

http://www.alabama.travel/activities/tours-and-trails/alabama-civil-rights-museum-trail/

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:32 PM

12. Regarding the bus....

It resides in the Heny Ford museum in Dearborn. I visited there in '07 - saw the bus and had an informative docent explain how it was that THE bus involved was saved and restored. Said bus was sent to an inglorius retirement before anyone thought it might be memorial-worthy. But it's fate eventually changed and it was saved for all of us to look at and imagine about. When I saw it, I was even able to sit in THE very seat Rosa refused to surrender that fateful day. The expeience meant alot to me and still does Rosa's experience AND mine.

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Response to Plucketeer (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 03:37 PM

18. That's interesting...

and very cool that you got to sit in it!

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 12:20 PM

6. K&R

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 12:32 PM

7. Glad they gave the real history here

This wasn't a random act of somebody who had just had enough. Ms. Parks was a trained activist.

Some people don't like that, but it's important. Change is rarely spontaneous. It is usually the effect of careful organization of activist communities over time. It should be noted that "We Shall Overcome" (yes, the song) is also largely thought to have come out of Highlander. It wasn't just a "center fror training activists;" it was an actual school, and suffered much harassment from from both local and federal authorities (Hoover thought Highlander was a den of communists during the years of the academic purges, for instance).

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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 12:43 PM

8. agreed, that was why I included that particular section.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:16 PM

9. Be the change you wish to see in the world.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:23 PM

10. One person who changed our world.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:26 PM

11. k&r

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:42 PM

13. What a lot of people don't know about Rosa Parks was

that for more than a decade before the bus incident she had investigated and helped fight rape in the South. During that period white men could rape women of color with impunity. Despite women being taken from their husbands outside of churches or rapists being identified by name by their victims, the offenders were never convicted. Ms. Parks efforts, and the efforts of others are well documented in the book "At the Dark End of the Street" by Danielle L. McGuire. If you think you have an idea of the extent of the problem, guess again. This is especially apropos after some of the recent threads I have read here at DU.

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Response to excringency (Reply #13)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 07:12 PM

15. welcome to DU--and thank you for reminding us about some of her other work. I will certainly

be checking out the book you referenced.

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:47 PM

14. I turned two years old that day.

There sure has been a lot of change since then. Not all for the better, by a long shot.

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Response to Spirochete (Reply #14)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 07:14 PM

16. and a very happy birthday to you. I hope you are having a wonderful day. you are correct,

there has been a lot of change, and not all for the better. But with examples such as hers, and so many others, we at least have the will to keep fighting for a better world for all.

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Response to niyad (Reply #16)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 03:27 PM

17. Thank you

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