"Each person must live their life as
a model for others"
On Dec. 1, 1955, a 42-year old African- American woman boarded a bus in Montgomery, AL. Rosa Parks took a seat in the ýcoloredţ section behind those reserved for white passengers. As the white section filled, the bus driver ordered the colored section moved further back, as was the custom. While other black passengers changed seats, Rosa Parks would not, even when threatened with arrest.
Her resistance to the Jim Crow laws of the South wasnÝt planned. Yet in Rosa Parks, black leaders had found a focal point for a movement ˝ a modest, dignified woman of determination. That night, after she was bailed out, community organizers laid the groundwork for the Montgomery Bus Boycott led by a young minister named Martin Luther King Jr.
For more than a year, the black community of Montgomery walked, carpooled, or caught taxis, but none rode a bus. 381 days later, the boycott ended following a U.S. Supreme Court decision that outlawed racial segregation on public buses.
Rosa Parks became a symbol of
justice and courage, receiving the
National Medal of Freedom and the
Congressional Medal of Honor.