Black History Moment: 59 Years Ago Today, Ms. Rosa Parks Refused To Surrender Her Seat On A Montgomery, Alabama Bus. Sparked A Nation.


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Rosa Parks

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African-American civil rights activist, whom the United States Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”. Her birthday, February 4, and the day she was arrested, December 1, have both become Rosa Parks Day, commemorated in both California and Ohio.

 

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake‘s order that she give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation. Others had taken similar steps, including Irene Morgan in 1946,Sarah Louise Keys in 1955, and the members of the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit (Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith) who were arrested in Montgomery months before Parks.NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws, although eventually her case became bogged down in the state courts while the Browder v. Gayle case succeeded.

 

Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement.

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At the time, Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. She had recently attended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee center for training activists for workers’ rights and racial equality. She acted as a private citizen “tired of giving in”. Although widely honored in later years, she also suffered for her act; she was fired from her job as a seamstress in a local department store.

 

Eventually, she moved to Detroit, where she briefly found similar work. From 1965 to 1988 she served as secretary and receptionist to John Conyers, an African-American U.S. Representative. After retirement, Parks wrote her autobiography and lived a largely private life in Detroit. In her final years, she suffered from dementia.

 

Parks received national recognition, including the NAACP’s 1979 Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. Upon her death in 2005, she was the first woman and second non-U.S. government official to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda.

 

Rosa Parks Lying in Honor

From October 30-31, 2005, Rosa Parks lay in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. Parks was the first woman to lay in honor in the Capitol Rotunda and the second African-American. Parks is best known as a civil rights pioneer. She died on October 24, 2005, in Detroit, Michigan. Authority for use of the Rotunda granted by Senate Concurrent Resolution 61, 109th Congress, 1st Session, agreed to October 29, 2005.

 

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This official Architect of the Capitol photograph is being made available for educational, scholarly, news or personal purposes (not advertising or any other commercial use). When any of these images is used the photographic credit line should read “Architect of the Capitol.” These images may not be used in any way that would imply endorsement by the Architect of the Capitol or the United States Congress of a product, service or point of view. For more information visit www.aoc.gov.

 

Rosa Parks Statue

On February 27, 2013, a statue of Rosa Parks commissioned by Congress was unveiled in National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol, approximately 100 years after her birth on February 4, 1913. Rosa Parks, whose arrest in 1955 for refusing to yield her seat on a segregated bus to a white passenger helped ignite the modern American civil rights movement. This bronze statue depicts Parks seated on a rock-like formation of which she seems almost a part, symbolizing her famous refusal to give up her bus seat. The statue is close to nine feet tall including its pedestal. It weighs 600 pounds and its granite pedestal, partially hollowed out inside, weighs 2,100 pounds. The pedestal is made of Raven Black granite and inscribed simply with her name and life dates, “Rosa Parks/1913–2005.” More:go.usa.gov/2xJz

 

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This official Architect of the Capitol photograph is being made available for educational, scholarly, news or personal purposes (not advertising or any other commercial use). When any of these images is used the photographic credit line should read “Architect of the Capitol.” These images may not be used in any way that would imply endorsement by the Architect of the Capitol or the United States Congress of a product, service or point of view. For more information visit www.aoc.gov.

 

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Early years

Rosa Parks was born Rosa Louise McCauley in Tuskegee, Alabama, on February 4, 1913, to Leona (née Edwards), a teacher, and James McCauley, a          carpenter. She was of African ancestry, though one her great-grandfathers was Scots-Irish and one of her great-grandmothers was a slave of Native American descent. She was small as a child and suffered poor health with chronic tonsillitis. When her parents separated, she moved with her mother to Pine Level, just outside the capital of Montgomery. She grew up on a farm with her maternal grandparents, mother, and younger brother Sylvester. They all were members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), a century-old independent black denomination founded by free blacks in Philadelphia in the early nineteenth century.

 

McCauley attended rural schools until the age of eleven. As a student at the Industrial School for Girls in Montgomery, she took academic and vocational courses. Parks went on to a laboratory school set up by the Alabama State Teachers College for Negroes for secondary education, but dropped out in order to care for her grandmother and later her mother, after they became ill.

 

Around the start of the 20th century, the former Confederate states had passed new constitutions and electoral laws that effectively disfranchised black voters and, in Alabama, many poor white voters as well. Under the white-established Jim Crow laws, passed after Democrats regained control of southern legislatures, racial segregation was imposed in public facilities and retail stores in the South, including public transportation. Bus and train companies enforced seating policies with separate sections for blacks and whites. School bus transportation was unavailable in any form for black schoolchildren in the South, and black education was always underfunded.

 

Parks recalled going to elementary school in Pine Level, where school buses took white students to their new school and black students had to walk to theirs:

 

I’d see the bus pass every day… But to me, that was a way of life; we had no choice but to accept what was the custom. The bus was among the first ways I realized there was a black world and a white world.

 

Although Parks’ autobiography recounts early memories of the kindness of white strangers, she could not ignore the racism of her society. When the Ku Klux Klan marched down the street in front of their house, Parks recalls her grandfather guarding the front door with a shotgun. The Montgomery Industrial School, founded and staffed by white northerners for black children, was burned twice by arsonists. Its faculty was ostracized by the white community.

 

In 1932, Rosa married Raymond Parks, a barber from Montgomery. He was a member of the NAACP, which at the time was collecting money to support the defense of the Scottsboro Boys, a group of black men falsely accused of raping two white women. Rosa took numerous jobs, ranging from domestic worker to hospital aide. At her husband’s urging, she finished her high school studies in 1933, at a time when less than 7% of African Americans had a high school diploma. Despite the Jim Crow laws and discrimination by registrars, she succeeded in registering to vote on her third try.

 

In December 1943, Parks became active in the Civil Rights Movement, joined the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, and was elected secretary. She later said, “I was the only woman there, and they needed a secretary, and I was too timid to say no.” She continued as secretary until 1957. She worked for the local NAACP leader E.D. Nixon, although he said, “Women don’t need to be nowhere but in the kitchen.” When she asked “Well, what about me?”, he replied “I need a secretary and you are a good one.”

 

In 1944, in her role as secretary, she investigated the gang-rape of Recy Taylor, a black woman from Abbeville, Alabama. Parks and other civil rights activists organized the “Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor”, launching what the Chicago Defender called “the strongest campaign for equal justice to be seen in a decade.”

 

Although never a member of the Communist Party she and her husband did attend meetings and the Scottsboro case was a case that had been brought to prominence by the Communist Party.

 

In the 1940s, Parks and her husband were members of the Voters’ League. Sometime soon after 1944, she held a brief job at Maxwell Air Force Base, which, despite its location in Montgomery, Alabama, did not permit racial segregation because it was federal property. She rode on its integrated trolley. Speaking to her biographer, Parks noted, “You might just say Maxwell opened my eyes up.” Parks worked as a housekeeper and seamstress for Clifford and Virginia Durr, a white couple. Politically liberal, the Durrs became her friends. They encouraged—and eventually helped sponsor—Parks in the summer of 1955 to attend the Highlander Folk School, an education center for activism in workers’ rights and racial equality in Monteagle, Tennessee.

 

In August 1955, black teenager Emmett Till was brutally murdered after reportedly flirting with a young white woman while visiting relatives in Mississippi.On November 27, 1955, Rosa Parks attended a mass meeting in Montgomery that addressed this case as well as the recent murders of the activists George W. Lee and Lamar Smith. The featured speaker was T. R. M. Howard, a black civil rights leader from Mississippi who headed the Regional Council of Negro Leadership. The discussions concerned actions blacks could take to work for their rights.

 

Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

 

Montgomery buses: law and prevailing customs

In 1900, Montgomery had passed a city ordinance to segregate bus passengers by race. Conductors were empowered to assign seats to achieve that goal. According to the law, no passenger would be required to move or give up his seat and stand if the bus was crowded and no other seats were available. Over time and by custom, however, Montgomery bus drivers adopted the practice of requiring black riders to move when there were no white-only seats left.

The No. 2857 bus on which Parks was riding before her arrest (a GM "old-look" transit bus, serial number 1132), is now a museum exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum.

The No. 2857 bus on which Parks was riding before her arrest (a GM “old-look” transit bus, serial number 1132), is now a museum exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum.

The first four rows of seats on each Montgomery bus were reserved for whites. Buses had “colored” sections for black people generally in the rear of the bus, although blacks comprised more than 75% of the ridership. The sections were not fixed but were determined by placement of a movable sign. Black people could sit in the middle rows until the white section filled; if more whites needed seats, blacks were to move to seats in the rear, stand, or, if there was no room, leave the bus. Black people could not sit across the aisle in the same row as white people. The driver could move the “colored” section sign, or remove it altogether. If white people were already sitting in the front, black people had to board at the front to pay the fare, then disembark and reenter through the rear door.

 

For years, the black community had complained that the situation was unfair. Parks said, “My resisting being mistreated on the bus did not begin with that particular arrest…I did a lot of walking in Montgomery.”

 

One day in 1943, Parks boarded the bus and paid the fare. She then moved to her seat but driver James F. Blake told her to follow city rules and enter the bus again from the back door. Parks exited the bus, but before she could re-board at the rear door, Blake drove off, leaving her to walk home in the rain.

 

Her refusal to move

After working all day, Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus around 6 p.m., Thursday, December 1, 1955, in downtown Montgomery. She paid her fare and sat in an empty seat in the first row of back seats reserved for blacks in the “colored” section. Near the middle of the bus, her row was directly behind the ten seats reserved for white passengers. Initially, she did not notice that the bus driver was the same man, James F. Blake, who had left her in the rain in 1943. As the bus traveled along its regular route, all of the white-only seats in the bus filled up. The bus reached the third stop in front of the Empire Theater, and several white passengers boarded.

 

Blake noted that two or three white passengers were standing, as the front of the bus had filled to capacity. He moved the “colored” section sign behind Parks and demanded that four black people give up their seats in the middle section so that the white passengers could sit. Years later, in recalling the events of the day, Parks said, “When that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night.”

 

By Parks’ account, Blake said, “Y’all better make it light on yourselves and let me have those seats.” Three of them complied. Parks said, “The driver wanted us to stand up, the four of us. We didn’t move at the beginning, but he says, ‘Let me have these seats.’ And the other three people moved, but I didn’t.” The black man sitting next to her gave up his seat.

 

Parks moved, but toward the window seat; she did not get up to move to the redesignated colored section. Blake said, “Why don’t you stand up?” Parks responded, “I don’t think I should have to stand up.” Blake called the police to arrest Parks. When recalling the incident for Eyes on the Prize, a 1987 public television series on the Civil Rights Movement, Parks said, “When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up, and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ And he said, ‘Well, if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested.’ I said, ‘You may do that.'”

Eyes on the Prize – 01 – Awakenings 1954-1956

Published on Dec 2, 2013

Awakenings focuses on the catalytic events of 1954-1956. The Mississippi lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till led to a widely publicized trial where a courageous black man took the stand and accused two white men of murder. In Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to yield her bus seat to a white man and triggered a yearlong boycott that resulted in the desegregation of public buses. Ordinary citizens and local leaders joined the black struggle for freedom. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was formed. In response, may white southerners closed ranks in opposition to the burgeoning black rights movement. Racial discrimination finally became a political issue.

 

 

Rosa Parks’ arrest
Booking photo of Parks
Police report on Parks, December 1, 1955, page 1
Police report on Parks, December 1, 1955, page 2
Fingerprint card of Parks

During a 1956 radio interview with Sydney Rogers in West Oakland several months after her arrest, Parks said she had decided, “I would have to know for once and for all what rights I had as a human being and a citizen.”

 

In her autobiography, My Story she said:

 

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?” She remembered him saying, “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…”

 

Parks was charged with a violation of Chapter 6, Section 11 segregation law of the Montgomery City code, although technically she had not taken a white-only seat; she had been in a colored section. Edgar Nixon, president of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP and leader of the Pullman Porters Union, and her friend Clifford Durr bailed Parks out of jail the next evening.

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Montgomery Bus Boycott

Nixon conferred with Jo Ann Robinson, an Alabama State College professor and member of the Women’s Political Council(WPC), about the Parks case. Robinson believed it important to seize the opportunity and stayed up all night mimeographing over 35,000 handbills announcing a bus boycott. The Women’s Political Council was the first group to officially endorse the boycott.

 

On Sunday, December 4, 1955, plans for the Montgomery Bus Boycott were announced at black churches in the area, and a front-page article in the Montgomery Advertiser helped spread the word. At a church rally that night, those attending agreed unanimously to continue the boycott until they were treated with the level of courtesy they expected, until black drivers were hired, and until seating in the middle of the bus was handled on a first-come basis.

 

The next day, Parks was tried on charges of disorderly conduct and violating a local ordinance. The trial lasted 30 minutes. After being found guilty and fined $10, plus $4 in court costs, Parks appealed her conviction and formally challenged the legality of racial segregation. In a 1992 interview with National Public Radio‘s Lynn Neary, Parks recalled:

 

I did not want to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time… there was opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn’t hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became.

 

On the day of Parks’ trial — December 5, 1955 — the WPC distributed the 35,000 leaflets. The handbill read:

 

“We are…asking every Negro to stay off the buses Monday in protest of the arrest and trial … You can afford to stay out of school for one day. If you work, take a cab, or walk. But please, children and grown-ups, don’t ride the bus at all on Monday. Please stay off the buses Monday.”

 

It rained that day, but the black community persevered in their boycott. Some rode in carpools, while others traveled in black-operated cabs that charged the same fare as the bus, 10 cents. Most of the remainder of the 40,000 black commuters walked, some as far as 20 miles (32 km).

 

That evening after the success of the one-day boycott, a group of 16 to 18 people gathered at the Mt. Zion AME Zion Church to discuss boycott strategies. At that time Parks was introduced but not asked to speak, despite a standing ovation and calls from the crowd for her to speak; when she asked if she should say something, the reply was, “Why, you’ve said enough.”

 

The group agreed that a new organization was needed to lead the boycott effort if it were to continue. Rev. Ralph Abernathy suggested the name “Montgomery Improvement Association” (MIA). The name was adopted, and the MIA was formed. Its members elected as their president Martin Luther King, Jr., a relative newcomer to Montgomery, who was a young and mostly unknown minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

 

That Monday night, 50 leaders of the African-American community gathered to discuss actions to respond to Parks’ arrest. Edgar Nixon, the president of the NAACP, said, “My God, look what segregation has put in my hands!”[32] Parks was considered the ideal plaintiff for a test case against city and state segregation laws, as she was seen as a responsible, mature woman with a good reputation. She was securely married and employed, was regarded as possessing a quiet and dignified demeanor, and was politically savvy. King said that Parks was regarded as “one of the finest citizens of Montgomery—not one of the finest Negro citizens, but one of the finest citizens of Montgomery.”

 

Parks’ court case was being slowed down in appeals through the Alabama courts on their way to a Federal appeal and the process could have taken years.Holding together a boycott for that length of time would have been a great strain. In the end, black residents of Montgomery continued the boycott for 381 days. Dozens of public buses stood idle for months, severely damaging the bus transit company’s finances, until the city repealed its law requiring segregation on public buses following the US Supreme Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle that it was unconstitutional. Parks was not included as a plaintiff in the Browder decision because the attorney Fred Gray concluded the courts would perceive they were attempting to circumvent her prosecution on her charges working their way through the Alabama state court system.

 

Parks played an important part in raising international awareness of the plight of African Americans and the civil rights struggle. King wrote in his 1958 bookStride Toward Freedom that Parks’ arrest was the catalyst rather than the cause of the protest: “The cause lay deep in the record of similar injustices.”[35] He wrote, “Actually, no one can understand the action of Mrs. Parks unless he realizes that eventually the cup of endurance runs over, and the human personality cries out, ‘I can take it no longer.

 

Later years

Rosa Parks Interview (Merv Griffin Show 1983)

Published on Jun 26, 2012

Civil Rights leader Rosa Parks tells Merv the famous story of her refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 and her subsequent arrest— the event widely regarded as the spark which lit the flames of the Civil Rights Movement. She also talks about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Merv Griffin had over 5000 guests appear on his show from 1963-1986.

 

 

After her arrest, Parks became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement but suffered hardships as a result. Due to economic sanctions used against activists, she lost her job at the department store. Her husband quit his job after his boss forbade him to talk about his wife or the legal case. Parks traveled and spoke extensively about the issues.

 

In 1957, Raymond and Rosa Parks left Montgomery for Hampton, Virginia; mostly because she was unable to find work. She also disagreed with King and other leaders of Montgomery’s struggling civil rights movement about how to proceed. In Hampton, she found a job as a hostess in an inn at Hampton Institute, a historically black college.

 

Later that year, at the urging of her brother and sister-in-law in Detroit, Sylvester and Daisy McCauley, Rosa and Raymond Parks, and her mother moved north to join them. Parks worked as a seamstress until 1965.

 

That year, John Conyers, an African-American U.S. Representative, hired her as a secretary and receptionist for his congressional office in Detroit. She held this position until she retired in 1988.[6] In a telephone interview with CNN on October 24, 2005, Conyers recalled, “You treated her with deference because she was so quiet, so serene — just a very special person … There was only one Rosa Parks.”

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The 1970s was a decade of loss and suffering for Parks in her personal life. Her family was plagued with illness; she and her husband had suffered stomach ulcers for years and both required hospitalization. Then in their 60s, her brother Sylvester and husband were both diagnosed with cancer, as was her mother. Parks sometimes visited three hospitals in the same day. In spite of her fame and constant speaking engagements, Parks was not a wealthy woman. She donated most of the money from speaking to civil rights causes, and lived on her staff salary and her husband’s pension. Medical bills and time missed from work caused financial strain that required her to accept assistance from church groups and admirers.

 

Her husband died of throat cancer on August 19, 1977 and her brother, her only sibling, died of cancer that November. Her personal ordeals caused her to become removed from the civil rights movement. She learned from a newspaper of the death of Fannie Lou Hamer, once a close friend. Parks suffered two broken bones in a fall on an icy sidewalk, an injury which caused considerable and recurring pain. She decided to move with her mother into an apartment for senior citizens. There she nursed her mother Leona through the final stages of cancer and geriatric dementia until she died in 1979 at the age of 92.

 

In 1980, Parks—widowed and without immediate family—rededicated herself to civil rights and educational organizations. She co-founded the Rosa L. Parks Scholarship Foundation for college-bound high school seniors, to which she donated most of her speaker fees. In February 1987 she co-founded, with Elaine Eason Steele, the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, an institute that runs the “Pathways to Freedom” bus tours which introduce young people to important civil rights and Underground Railroad sites throughout the country. Though her health declined as she entered her seventies, Parks continued to make many appearances and devoted considerable energy to these causes.

 

In 1992, Parks published Rosa Parks: My Story, an autobiography aimed at younger readers, which recounts her life leading to her decision to keep her seat on the bus. A few years later, she published her memoir, titled Quiet Strength (1995), which focuses on her faith in her life. On August 30, 1994, Joseph Skipper, an African-American drug addict, entered her home and attacked the 81-year-old Parks in the course of a robbery. The incident sparked outrage throughout the United States. After his arrest, Skipper said that he had not known he was in Parks’ home but recognized her after entering. Skipper asked, “Hey, aren’t you Rosa Parks?” to which she replied, “Yes.” She handed him $3 when he demanded money, and an additional $50 when he demanded more. Before fleeing, Skipper struck Parks in the face. Skipper was arrested and charged with various breaking and entering offenses against Parks and other neighborhood victims. He admitted guilt and, on August 8, 1995, was sentenced to eight to 15 years in prison. Suffering anxiety upon returning to her small central Detroit house following the ordeal, Parks moved into Riverfront Towers, a secure high-rise apartment building where she lived for the rest of her life.

 

In 1994 the Ku Klux Klan applied to sponsor a portion of United States Interstate 55 in St. Louis County and Jefferson County, Missouri, near  St. Louis, for cleanup (which allowed them to have signs stating that this section of highway was maintained by the organization). Since the state could not refuse the KKK’s sponsorship, the Missouri legislature voted to name the highway section the “Rosa Parks Highway”. When asked how she felt about this honor, she is reported to have commented, “It is always nice to be thought of.”

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In 1999 Parks filmed a cameo appearance for the television series Touched by an Angel. It was to be her last appearance on film; health problems made her increasingly an invalid.

 

In 2002 Parks received an eviction notice from her $1800 per month apartment due to non-payment of rent. Parks was incapable of managing her own financial affairs by this time due to age-related physical and mental decline. Her rent was paid from a collection taken by Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit. When her rent became delinquent and her impending eviction was highly publicized in 2004, executives of the ownership company announced they had forgiven the back rent and would allow Parks, by then 91 and in extremely poor health, to live rent free in the building for the remainder of her life. Her heirs and various interest organizations alleged at the time that her financial affairs had been mismanaged.

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Legacy and honors

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  • 2000,
    • her home state awarded her the Alabama Academy of Honor,
    • she receives the first Governor’s Medal of Honor for Extraordinary Courage.
    • She was awarded two dozen honorary doctorates from universities worldwide
    • She is made an honorary member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
    • the Rosa Parks Library and Museum on the campus of Troy University in Montgomery was dedicated to her.

 

 

  • 2005,
    • On October 30, 2005 President George W. Bush issued a proclamation ordering that all flags on U.S. public areas both within the country and abroad be flown at half-staff on the day of Parks’ funeral.
    • Metro Transit in King County, Washington placed posters and stickers dedicating the first forward-facing seat of all its buses in Parks’ memory shortly after her death,
    • the American Public Transportation Association declared December 1, 2005, the 50th anniversary of her arrest, to be a “National Transit Tribute to Rosa Parks Day”.
    • On that anniversary, President George W. Bush signed Pub.L. 109–116, directing that a statue of Parks be placed in the United States Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. In signing the resolution directing the Joint Commission on the Library to do so, the President stated:

      By placing her statue in the heart of the nation’s Capitol, we commemorate her work for a more perfect union, and we commit ourselves to continue to struggle for justice for every American.

    • Portion of Interstate 96 in Detroit was renamed by the state legislature as the Rosa Parks Memorial Highway in December 2005.

 

 

 

 

 

  • 2012, President Barack Obama visited the famous Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum after an event in Dearborn, Michigan, April 18, 2012.

 

  • 2012, A street in West Valley City, Utah‘s second largest city, leading to the Utah Cultural Celebration Center is renamed Rosa Parks Drive.

 

  • 2013,
    • On February 1, President Barack Obama proclaimed February 4, 2013, as the “100th Anniversary of the Birth of Rosa Parks.” He called “upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate service, community, and education programs to honor Rosa Parks’s enduring legacy.”
    • On February 4, to celebrate Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday, the Henry Ford Museum declared the day a “National Day of Courage” with 12 hours of virtual and on-site activities featuring nationally recognized speakers, musical and dramatic interpretative performances, a panel presentation of Rosa’s Storyand a reading of the tale Quiet Strength. The actual bus on which Rosa Parks sat was made available for the public to board and sit in the seat that Rosa Parks refused to give up.
    • On February 4, 2,000 birthday wishes gathered from people throughout the United States were transformed into 200 graphics messages at a celebration held on her 100th Birthday at the Davis Theater for the Performing Arts in Montgomery, Alabama. This was the 100th Birthday Wishes Project managed by the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University and the Mobile Studio and was also a declared event by the Senate.
    • During both events the USPS unveiled a postage stamp in her honor.
    • On February 27, Parks became the first African American woman to have her likeness depicted in National Statuary Hall. The monument, created by sculptor Eugene Daub, is a part of the Capitol Art Collection among nine other females featured in the National Statuary Hall Collection.
Parks and U.S. President Bill Clinton

Parks and U.S. President Bill Clinton

Rosa Parks Transit Center, 360 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.

Rosa Parks Transit Center, 360 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.

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Join The March Online


 

By Jueseppi B.

802540326

 

 

The August 24th National Action To Realize The Dream March Led By Rev. Al Sharpton & Martin Luther King, III To Include Brief Remarks By Attorney General Eric Holder, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Steny Hoyer, Newark Mayor Corey Booker, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Bernice King, The Families of Emmett Till & Trayvon Martin & Many Others From Civil Rights, Labor & The Church

 

Main Speakers (from 11:0 AM EDT):

 

Nancy Pelosi

 

Bernice King

 

Steny Hoyer

 

Myrlie Evers-Williams (Widow of Medgar-Evers)

 

Attorney General Eric Holder

 

Martin Luther King, III

 

Rev. Al Sharpton

 

Trayvon Martin family

 

Emmett Till family

 

12:30:

March down Independence Avenue, passing the King Memorial to the Washington Monument

 

 

Civil rights activists are gathering in our nation’s capital to march — just as they did 50 years ago, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. looked out from the Lincoln Memorial and called the huge crowd “the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”

 

As we honor their efforts and strive to continue their work, don’t miss your chance to be a part of this historic event.

 

Start by tweeting your message of support for the march.

 

Then follow us on Instagram and Facebook to view and share real-time photos of the march.

 

We are celebrating 50 years of progress for our movement at a time when it could not be more critical to renew our commitment to the dreams of leaders like Dr. King, Roy Wilkins, and Rosa Parks.

 

And we want you to be a part of it, even if you can’t be with us in Washington. Marchers and virtual marchers alike are coming together, from all walks of life, and all corners of our country. I’m proud our numbers will include you as we take to the National Mall.

 

Thanks for everything you do, and please join us on TwitterFacebook, andInstagram for the march.

 

Sincerely,

Ben

 

Benjamin Jealous
President and CEO
NAACP

 

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Martin Luther King – I Have A Dream Speech – August 28, 1963

 

Uploaded on Jan 20, 2011

 

I Have a Dream Speech
Martin Luther King’s Address at March on Washington
August 28, 1963. Washington, D.C.

 

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

 

 

 

 

THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

 

Uploaded on Dec 24, 2009

 

1963 ARC Identifier 49737 / Local Identifier 306.3394. Scenes from Civil Rights March in Washington, D.C., August 1963. People walking up sidewalk; gathering on Mall, standing, singing. Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, crowd gathered on the Mall. People marching with signs, many men wearing UAW hats. People at speakers podium, men with guitars. Crowds outside of the White House, sign: The Catholic University of America. Band, people marching down street. Many signs, including All D.C. wants to vote! Home Rule for DC; Alpha Phi Alpha; and Woodstock Catholic Seminary for Equal Rights.

 

Lincoln Memorial with crowds gathered around reflecting pool. People singing and clapping at speakers platform. Signs, people clapping. Man speaking, woman playing guitar and singing at podium. More speakers and shots of the crowd. A chorus, NAACP men in crowd. Close-ups of people in crowd with bowed heads. Shots taken from above of White House. More speakers, including Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Women at podium singing We Shall Overcome. Crowd swaying, singing, holding hands. U.S. Information Agency. (1982 – 10/01/1999) Made possible by a donation from Public.Resource.Org.

 

 

 

The family of Trayvon Martin. The family of Emmett Till. 50 years later, they march together

The family of Trayvon Martin. The family of Emmett Till. 50 years later, they march together

 

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News From Barack’s Blog On MLK & Roger Ebert’s Passing


 

By Jueseppi B.

 

Barack'sblog

 

 

 

Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. With Our Lives

 

Valerie Jarrett
Valerie Jarrett

April 04, 2013

 

Today marks the 45th anniversary of the death of one of America’s great heroes and a giant of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Dr. King was working on the frontlines of a movement in Memphis to support the sanitation workers on strike when his life was taken. It was there that he gave his last speech, I’ve Been on a Mountaintop.

 

Today, we pause and reflect on Dr. King’s extraordinary life and his tireless work to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice. We stand on the shoulders of so many of our Civil Rights heroes who we’ve lost, such as Dr. King, Dorothy Height, and Rosa Parks. Yet their legacy continues.

 

This August, we also mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, when thousands descended upon the capital to rally for civil and economic rights for all Americans. It was there, at the Lincoln Memorial, that Dr. King gave his most iconic speech, I Have a Dream.

 

Since Dr. King’s untimely and tragic death, we have strived to advance his ideals and realize his dream for all Americans to have the same economic and social opportunities.

 

 

During the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in 2011, President Obama said:

 

“If he were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there; that the businessman can enter tough negotiations with his company’s union without vilifying the right to collectively bargain. He would want us to know we can argue fiercely about the proper size and role of government without questioning each other’s love for this country with the knowledge that in this democracy, government is no distant object but is rather an expression of our common commitments to one another. He would call on us to assume the best in each other rather than the worst, and challenge one another in ways that ultimately heal rather than wound.”

 

Here at the White House, we work each and every day to ensure that that our actions express those common commitments to each other: building an economy that serves the middle class and those striving to climb the ladders of opportunity into the middle class; making common sense immigration reform; protecting our children from harm; and giving all children the education required to pursue their dreams.

 

As we move forward on these challenges together, may we always live up to the words spoken by Dr. King the day before he died, “Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.”

 

 

MLK Memorial

 

 

Valerie B. Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama

 

 

 

Statement by the President on the Passing of Roger Ebert

 

 

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Michelle and I are saddened to hear about the passing of Roger Ebert.  For a generation of Americans – and especially Chicagoans – Roger was the movies.  When he didn’t like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive – capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical.  Even amidst his own battles with cancer, Roger was as productive as he was resilient – continuing to share his passion and perspective with the world.  The movies won’t be the same without Roger, and our thoughts and prayers are with Chaz and the rest of the Ebert family.

 

 

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The Week That Was; West Wing Week: 03/01/13 Or “Hope Springs Eternal”


 

By Jueseppi B.

 

 

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West Wing Week: 03/01/13 or “Hope Springs Eternal”

 

 

Adam Garber
Adam Garber

March 01, 2013
This week, the President urged Congress to take a responsible approach to deficit reduction instead of the indiscriminate across-the-board spending cuts called the sequester. He also met with the Prime Minister of Japan, America’s Governors, and the country’s only all-black Ranger unit, and unveiled a truly moving monument to Rosa Parks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, February 22nd

  • Prime Minister Abe of Japan visited the White House for a bilateral meeting with the President, where they discussed the important relationship between the two countries.
  • The White House Office of Digital Strategy hosted programmers from across the country for an Open Data Day Hackathon where participants were given access to We the People Petitions’ API in an effort to find ways to make the online platform both more detailed and more user-friendly.

 

 

Monday, February 25th

  • The President, Vice President, First Lady, and Dr. Biden spoke at the Meeting of the National Governors Association. The President praised governors for working across party lines, and called for the same kind of cooperation in Washington.

 

 

Tuesday, February 26th

  • The President traveled to Newport News, Virginia to visit a ship building facility, and highlight the devastating impact the sequester would have on jobs and middle class families, and to urge Congress to take action to replace these arbitrary cuts with balanced deficit reduction.
  • West Wing Week caught up with the President & CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries to hear his take on what’s at stake in the sequester negotiations.

 

 

Wednesday, February 27th

 

 

Thursday, February 28th

  • The President met with both the Commander in Chief of the VFW and with the National Commander of the American Legion.

Catching Up with The Curator: Watch Meeting–Dec. 31st 1862–Waiting for the Hour

 

Published on Feb 27, 2013

Go inside the White House with White House Curator, Bill Allman, as he gives insight into the painting Watch Meeting–Dec. 31st 1862–Waiting for the Hour by William Carlton and learn why President Obama hand-picked this painting to hang just outside his office in the West Wing.

 

 

 

 

 

February 28, 2013

Statement from the President

 

 

 

White House Schedule – March 1, 2013

 

10:05 AM EST:  The President hosts the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress at the White House; the Vice President also attends in the Oval Office.

 

From The AP: The White House says automatic spending reductions set to kick in will be put off until as close to midnight Friday as possible.

 

The law, passed by Congress on Jan. 2 simply says that “on March 1, 2013, the president shall order a sequestration for fiscal year 2013.” That’s budget talk for an $85 billion reduction in defense and domestic spending between now and Oct. 1.

 

Obama can issue that order at any point in the day.

 

And White House press secretary Jay Carney says that means midnight, Friday – or as close to midnight as possible: 11:59 p.m. and 59 seconds.

 

Because, Carney says, Obama remains “ever hopeful.”

 

 

 

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The Sequestration Map Provided by Addicting Info…….. click on this link, then follow these instructions when you see the map:

 “To see how badly you’ll be screwed if our GOP-led congress refuses to compromise by March 1st, roll your mouse over the abbreviation for your state. Data from the White House’s report, “What Is the Sequestration?” with details organized by state.”

 

Thank you Addicting Info.

 

 

 

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OBAMA RE ELECTED

 

 

 

 

 

My Soapbox Runneth Ovah: Rosa Parks, The Voting Rights Act, The First Lady & Let’s Move


 

By Jueseppi B.

 

 

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Repealing The Voting Rights Act Of 1965:

 

Greg Sargent: Judging by all the early reporting on the first round of Supreme Court arguments about a key section of the Voting Rights Act, that provision may be in real peril. Conservative justices expressed sharp skepticism of the law, with much attention being paid to Antonin Scalia’s description of it as a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

 

…. all may not be lost. That’s because proponents of the Voting Rights Act are focused mainly on holding on to Justice Anthony Kennedy.

 

Full post here

 

 

 

If The United States Supreme Court Justices intend to take sections of the U.S. Constitution and repeal them, and upgrade them and redo them…..let’s give the entire U.S. Constitution a remake. Start with the antiquated 2nd amendment of 1791, BEFORE YOU REPEAL THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965.

 

I mean how many have died from voting in America as opposed to the death toll figures from guns in America? Let me repeat: If the SCJOTUS wish to repeal The Voting Rights Act of 1965, these dumbass better for sure repeal the 2nd amendment written in 1791 to ensure a well regulated militia to combat slavery uprisings and save caucasian slave owning families lives.

 

Which Constitutional right is relevant in 2013?

 

 

Rep John Lewis: Scalia‘s ‘racial entitlement’ comment an affront to a cause ‘people died for’

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Full White House Dedication Ceremony Speech From POTUS Obama:

 

 

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President Obama Dedicates a Statue Honoring Rosa Parks

 

Published on Feb 27, 2013

President Obama speaks at a ceremony dedicating a statue in honor of Rosa Parks at the U.S. Capitol. February 27, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Statutory Hall: Rosa Parks Takes Her Place Among American History Giants

 

 

 

 

 

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Ms. First Lady Michelle Obama visits Northside Elementary School to promote Let’s Move

 

 

Michelle Obama Visits Mississippi

 

Published on Feb 27, 2013

First Lady Michelle Obama visits Northside Elementary School in Clinton to celebrate three years of the White House’s “Let’s Move!” campaign to fight childhood obesity and promote exercise, nutrition education and healthy eating in school cafeterias.

 

 

 

 

 

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President Barack Obama touches the Rosa Parks statue after the unveiling during a ceremony in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27, 2013. Helping with the unveiling, were, from left: Sheila Keys, niece of Rosa Parks; Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.; House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.; and Elaine Eason Keys. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

 

 

 

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President Barack Obama with a three-year-old relative of Rosa Parks after unveiling a statue in her honor.

 

 

 

Rosa Parks has a Permanent Place in the U.S. Capitol

 

Matt Compton
Matt Compton

February 27, 2013

National Statuary Hall inside the U.S. Capitol was once the meeting place of the House of Representatives. Now it’s home to a collection of statues and monuments — two from each state — representing some of the defining figures in our nation’s history.

 

Today those sculptures were joined by that of a civil rights icon. One hundred years after she was born and 58 years after she refused to give up her seat on an Alabama city bus, Rosa Parks has a permanent place in the halls of Congress.

 

President Obama was one of the leaders on hand for the unveiling of the statue this morning.

 

“Rosa Parks held no elected office,” he said. “She possessed no fortune; lived her life far from the formal seats of power. And yet today, she takes her rightful place among those who’ve shaped this nation’s course.”

 

The statue is close to nine feet tall and depicts Rosa Parks in bronze wearing the same clothes she wore on the day she was arrested. The monument consisting of both her statue and the granite pedestal on which it rests weighs 2,100 pounds.

 

“Rosa Parks’s singular act of disobedience launched a movement,” President Obama told today’s crowd. “The tired feet of those who walked the dusty roads of Montgomery helped a nation see that to which it had once been blind. It is because of these men and women that I stand here today. It is because of them that our children grow up in a land more free and more fair; a land truer to its founding creed. And that is why this statue belongs in this hall — to remind us, no matter how humble or lofty our positions, just what it is that leadership requires; just what it is that citizenship requires.”

 

 

 

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From Amnesty International USA:

 

 

Need an AK-47? How about 6,000 for an army of child soldiers?

 

The International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), which concluded last week in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, bills itself as one of the biggest arms bazaars in the world. However, among the more than 1,100 companies exhibiting at IDEX were manufacturers whose products have made it a lot easier for bad guys to wreak havoc. After all, there are currently no global checks in place to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

 

We’ve got less than a month to go before states convene at the United Nations in New York to finalize a historic Arms Trade Treaty. Take action now to make this Arms Trade Treaty strong so that no more weapons can fall through gaping loopholes and into dangerous hands.

 

Amnesty International has been able to trace the flow of weapons from manufacturers exhibiting at IDEX to the very weapons used in countries where serious human rights abuses have taken place.

 

There were no checks in place then to stop the free flow of weapons:

  • from Pakistan to Sri Lanka, even though the country was embroiled in a brutal civil war that lasted three decades
  • or from China to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where both armed groups and government forces alike use child soldiers
  • or from the United States to Bahrain, like the tear gas used by government forces against peaceful protesters

 

 

 

But we can ensure that there are checks in place now if we urge the Obama administration to support a strong Arms Trade Treaty.

 

 

All the while, NRA officials keep fueling a false#gunversation about the Arms Trade Treaty claiming that its purpose is to infringe on American gun owners rights — knowing full well that it has no impact on gun rights within U.S. borders whatsoever. In fact, the gun lobby will be in D.C. today continuing to spread their misinformation campaign during Congressional hearings about gun control.

 

 

So if NRA officials have their way and the Arms Trade Treaty is weakened, then we would see more children recruited as soldiers, more women raped in conflict zones, more families driven from their homes and more senseless deaths.

 

 

We’ve got to make sure the record is set straight before March 18, when Arms Trade Treaty negotiations begin. We must do all we can to close dangerous loopholes, like the one that makes international gun shows an open bazaar for the suppliers of warlords and human rights criminals.

 

 

The Arms Trade Treaty has the potential to protect families from gun violence on a global scale. Show President Obama that you care about protecting families worldwide against gun violence by taking action now.

 

 

Your voice makes a difference in the global gun debate.

 

 

Thank You,

Michelle Ringuette
Chief of Campaigns & Programs
Amnesty International USA

 

 

 

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OBAMA RE ELECTED

 

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