Rosa Parks Day commemorates a Civil Rights icon

Dec. 1, 2022

By Kayla Oglivie
Staff Writer

Sixty-seven years ago, Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks, who was 42 years old at the time, made history when she helped initiate the civil rights movement in the United States. On Dec. 1, 1956, she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama even though this went against Alabama law. At the time, Black people were required to sit at the back of the bus or face arrest and a fine.

Parks’ actions led to the Montgomery bus boycott, which was a 13-month civil rights protest when Blacks refused to take the city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Although Black people represented at least 75 percent of Montgomery’s bus ridership, the city resisted complying with the protester’s demands. 

On June 5, 1956 the Montgomery bus boycott ended, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that segregation on public buses is unconstitutional because it violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This court decision forever changed the course of American history and sparked greater activism that has transformed American culture, politics and society by expanding freedom and equality.

History teacher Mr. Duus said Dec. 1 is worthy of commemoration. 

“She certainly is a perfect model of putting your foot down, standing up for what is right when no one else will.”

“Rosa Parks is a major civil rights icon and should be highly honored,” Duus said. 

He said he talks about Parks in his U.S. History II class.

“When Rosa Parks is being discussed, I mention how Parks was a civil rights activist who protested to help desegregate public transportation,” Duus said. 

Like Duus, sophomore Yasemin Ugurlu said Parks is a significant historical figure.

“Rosa Parks’ story is so widely known and taught in schools so that students can understand her motivations, frustrations and the meaning behind her actions,” Ugurlu said.

She said Parks’ story helps students understand a difficult era in history. 

“By learning about her achievements, people can learn how determined individuals can join together to make social change,” Ugurlu said. “To honor Rosa Parks, students can create group discussions and discuss what they believe is the most important lesson learned from what she went through.”

Junior Isabella Guzman, who is secretary of the History Club, said Parks paved the way for minorities. 

“She certainly is a perfect model of putting your foot down, standing up for what is right when no one else will,” Guzman said. 

She said when people think of how the civil rights movement began, Parks comes to mind.

“She showed what it meant to not only be a strong African American but also a strong woman, which is still inspiring to many in both groups,” said Guzman.

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