History

ROSA PARKS DAY - December 1

Rosa Parks Day | December 1
Rosa Parks Day | December 1

ROSA PARKS DAY

Rosa Parks Day honors an American Civil Rights hero twice a year on February 4th or December 1st. The holiday recognizes the civil rights leader Rosa Parks.

#RosaParksDay

On December 1, 1955, after a long Thursday at work, Rosa Parks boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She took her seat in the ‘colored’ section. 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 passengers give up their seats. Despite this, bus drivers customarily required black passengers to give up their seats to white passengers when public transportation became full.

When the bus driver asked Parks to give up her seat, she refused. Police arrested her, and what followed is Civil Rights history. On December 5, 1955, the courts found Parks guilty of violating the city ordinance and fined her $10 plus a court fee.

African American leaders, including E.D. Nixon and Martin Luther King, Jr. organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott for the date of Rosa Park’s trial. The boycott succeeded and lasted several months, devastating the transportation system in Montgomery.

HOW TO OBSERVE ROSA PARKS DAY

Learn more about Rosa Parks, her experiences on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and her role in the Civil Rights movement. Discover how the Montgomery Bus Boycott affected the bussing system. Several books and films offer insight to this day in history and the Civil Rights movement to follow. 

  • Quiet Strength: The Faith, the Hope, and the Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation by Gregory J. Reed and Rosa Parks
  • Rosa Parks by Rosa Parks
  • She Would Not Be Moved by Herbert R. Kohl
  • Boycott (2001)
  • Selma (2014)

You can also visit the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University. Use #RosaParksDay to post on social media.

ROSA PARKS DAY HISTORY

The California State Legislature created Rosa Parks Day and first celebrated February 4, 2000. California chose to recognize the date of Rosa Park’s birth. Ohio and Oregon celebrate on the date of her arrest, December 1.

Rosa Parks FAQ

Q. Was Rosa Parks active in the Civil Rights movement before she refused to give up her seat?
A. Yes. She and her husband Raymond Parks were both active in the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP.

Q. What was Rosa Parks’ job at the time of her arrest?
A. Rosa Parks worked as a seamstress at a department store.

Q. Were other riders asked to give up their seats on that day in 1955?
A. Yes. The driver asked a total of four passengers to give up their seats. Rosa Parks was the only one who refused to give up her seat.

Q. How long did the Montgomery bus boycott last?
A. African American leaders, including E.D. Nixon and Martin Luther King, Jr. organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott for the day of Park’s trial. The boycott lasted 381 days and successfully ended with the Montgomery buses being integrated.