Rosa Parks Day

February 4th marks the anniversary of the birth of Rosa Parks in 1913 and as such, is celebrated as Rosa Parks Day. Rosa Parks has been called "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement" by United Sates Congress. Her most infamous act was being arrested for her refusal to give up her bus seat to a white person, in 1955, when public transport was still segregated within the U.S. This seemingly simple deed led to a city-wide bus boycott that lasted several months, eventually forcing the city of Montgomery to remove the law enforcing segregation on buses.

However, during those months, many tried their hardest to dissuade the protesters by arresting people under antiquated laws forbidding boycotts, cancelling insurance for the taxi service used by African Americans and more violent measures, such as burning ‘black churches’ and bombing the homes of Martin Luther King Jr. and E.D. Nixon.

Rosa Parks would later remark "At the time I was arrested, I had no idea it would turn into this. It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in."

Both Rosa Parks and her husband lost their jobs after her arrest. The boycott officially ended on the 20th of December, 1956, but not before the legality of the laws had been brought into question. The district court had ruled the segregation laws unconstitutional in June, earlier that year, but the city of Montgomery appealed the decision, only to have it upheld by the Supreme Court in November.

The Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery will be holding free tours from nine to five, on the commemorative date this year. The museum was built on the site where Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat.

Have the courage to take a stand for peace and make the world a better, fairer place. As Rosa Parks once said, "each person must live their life as a model for others."

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