On Dec. 1, 1955 a black woman made history as she refused to give up her bus seat to a white male passenger in Montgomery, Ala.
Rosa Parks displayed tremendous courage for her unwillingness to leave her bus seat and was ultimately arrested for violating a city ordinance, but Parks’ refusal on this day 57 years ago has transformed the history of the United States.
The decision to stay put and get arrested by civil rights icon, known as “the mother of the modern-day civil rights movement,” added fuel to a burgeoning civil rights crusade that resulted in a 362 day Montgomery Bus Boycott.
The boycott was organized by none other than Baptist minister Martin Luther King, Jr. and ultimately propelled the young civil rights activist to the forefront of the movement.
Parks was born in Tuskegee, Ala. in 1913. She was a seamstress by trade who was active in the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NACCP).
“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,” Parks had said of the historic day she was arrested.
“I had no idea when I refused to give up my seat on that Montgomery bus that my small action would help put an end to the segregation laws in the South,” Parks had said.
Parks died on Oct. 24, 2005, just a little more than a month prior to the 50th anniversary of her courageous act.
A decade prior to her death she told the Academy of Achievement that the United States, land of the free and home of the brave, still had a long way to go with regards to granting all citizens the "blessings and freedom of this country."
"We still have a long way to go, we still have many obstacles and many challenges to face. It's far from perfect, and it may never be, but I think as long as we do the best we can to improve conditions, then people will be benefited," Parks said.