Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to move to the back of a bus and give her seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama.
Rosa Parks, a seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama, is well known across the country as a woman refused to give into segregation. The day was Thursday December 1st, and Rosa boarded a city bus after a long day of work. At this time, segregation was widely practiced in the South, and considered legal following the Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).
Plessy v. Ferguson was a landmark decision that upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation in public facilities. ‘Separate but equal’ was a doctrine derived from this case, meaning that facilities could be separate for each race as long as they were equal.
As Rosa made her way home, the bus continued to fill up with passengers. By a certain point, the “white only” sections were filled, and more white people were beginning to board. The bus driver asked for all the blacks in Rosa’s row to move. Although they did not move at first, after more badgering from the driver, all of them got up except for one. Rosa Parks remained in her spot, telling the driver no. He then threatened to have her arrested, in which she said, “You may do that.”
She was then arrested and fined $10.
- What did separate but equal mean?
- Why do you think others eventually got up, even though they didn’t at first?
- What do you think led to Rosa refusing?
1, Dec. 1955 Rosa Park’s arrest [Digital photograph]. Retrieved from <biography.com/tag/rosa-parks>.