GRTC continues its tradition on the anniversary of an historic Civil Rights movement of paying special tribute to Rosa Parks on December 1.
Mrs. Parks is most well-known for her act of defiance on a Montgomery, AL bus on December 1, 1955 that changed the course of history. On that date, Mrs. Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. Mrs. Parks explained later, “I did not get on the bus to get arrested; I got on the bus to go home.” She was arrested and fined, as Alabama law at that time required Black passengers to surrender their seats to white passengers when the bus was full, as well as to sit at the back of the bus. Four days later, in response to Mrs. Parks’ arrest, a year-long bus boycott began. It ended when the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on public transportation was illegal.
Mrs. Parks, the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,” is honored by GRTC in a fitting tribute by reserving the first passenger seat on every GRTC bus on the anniversary. A commemorative sign is displayed, honoring both Mrs. Parks’ legacy and her dedication to the Civil Rights Movement.
Mrs. Parks was born on February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, AL. She passed at the age of 92 on October 24, 2005 in Detroit, MI, becoming the first woman in American history to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol.
A dozen years before Parks triggered desegregation of public transit, Catherine Jones Coleman of Richmond, Virginia also refused to move to the back of a Richmond bus in March 1943. Coleman was also arrested, like Parks, and fined $5 and court costs. Rosa Parks represented the culmination of decades of similar acts of defiance for Civil Rights.