Monday 14 September 2015

Rosa Parks Writes About Her Arrest

"I had been pushed around all my life and felt at this moment I couldn't take it anymore." 
(Rosa Parks)

Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus to a white person in 1955, helped spark the Civil Rights Movement.  While her name was forever etched on the history books, Parks paid a high price for her stance.  

Writing on a piece of Montgomery Department Store stationery, Parks explained:  

"I had been pushed around all my life and felt at this moment I couldn't take it anymore." When I asked the policeman why we had to be pushed around, he said he didn't know.  'The law is the law.  You are under arrest.'  I didn't resist." (

The following year saw the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a successful tool to integrate public transportation in the city.  Parks lodged a protest against her arrest.  She was very much in the public eye.  Near the end of 1956, the seamstress was let go from her job at the Montgomery Department Store.  Her husband, who had been forbidden to discuss her case at work, was also let go from his position.  Old Jim Crow wasn't going to give up without a fight.

As Parks explained in her letter:

"little children are so conditioned early to learn their place in this segregated pattern as they take their first toddling steps and are weaned from their mother's breast."

In early 1957, Parks jumped through another hoop and secured her right to vote, at a time when few blacks had that right in the Deep South.  But the economic situation looked bleak in Alabama and Rosa and her husband Raymond moved to Detroit, Michigan by the early 1960's.  Rosa found work as a receptionist for a U. S. Congressman.  

No comments:

Post a Comment