ROSA PARKS DAY
Rosa Parks Day is an American holiday celebrated on February 4 or December 1 in honor of the civil rights leader Rosa Parks.
On December 1, 1955, after a long day of work Rosa Parks boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She took her seat in the ‘colored’ section, but as she rode the Cleveland Avenue bus home, the bus began to fill.
The Montgomery city ordinance allowed bus drivers to assign seating. However, it did not permit them to demand a passenger give up their seat. Despite this, bus drivers had customarily required black passengers to give up their seats to white passengers when the public transportation became full.
When Rosa Parks was asked to give up her seat, she refused. She was arrested and what followed is Civil Rights history. She was found guilty on December 5, 1955, of violating the city ordinance and fined $10 plus a court fee.
African American leaders, including E.D. Nixon and Martin Luther King, Jr., (see Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott for the day of Rosa Park’s trial. The boycott was a success and lasted several months, devastating the transportation system in Montgomery.
HOW TO OBSERVE
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Rosa Parks Day was created by the California State Legislature and first celebrated February 4, 2000. California chose to recognize the date of Rosa Park’s birth. Ohio and Oregon celebrate Rosa Parks Day on the day she was arrested, December 1.
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