On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks, with one single act of ‘defiance’ that would launch the Montgomery Bus Boycott, became the first lady of the Civil Rights Movement.
Many of us grew up with the notion that Parks simply didn’t want to give up her seat because she was tired from work. But as she revealed in her autobiography “My Story,” she knew very well what her decision to disobey bus driver James Blake would mean something.
“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
When Parks refused to give up her seat, a police officer arrested her. As the officer took her away, she recalled that she asked, “Why do you push us around?” The officer’s response as she remembered it was, “I don’t know, but the law’s the law, and you’re under arrest.” She later said, “I only knew that, as I was being arrested, that it was the very last time that I would ever ride in humiliation of this kind.”
We thank you, Rosa Parks, for helping change the world.