June 16, 2021

‘Tired from the ache in my heart’: Rosa Parks took a stand by sitting down

The 43-year-old seamstress just wanted to go home.

As per a city ordinance, she was supposed to sit in the back of the bus because she was black. The rear of the bus was full. She sat down beside a black man in the third seat from the front. Two other black men sat across the aisle.

“Two stops later, white passengers had filled up the front seats and were having to stand up. The driver told Mrs. Parks and the three men they would have to leave their seats.

All three men obeyed. Mrs. Parks, in what she insists was a spontaneous impulse, refused to move. The driver called police and she stayed in jail briefly until the $100 bond was posted,” wrote Ray Jenkins in The Patriot on March 5, 1956.

“I had given up my seat before, but this day, I was especially tired. Tired from my work as a seamstress, and tired from the ache in my heart,” Parks said.

Rosa Parks Day is celebrated either on her birthday, Feb. 4, or Dec. 1, the day she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger.

Parks’ actions on that day lead to a citywide boycott of the buses that resulted in the end of segregation on public buses.

Parks was found guilty and fined $10 plus court costs.

A few days after the incident, the black community created the Montgomery Improvement Association. The association elected a president – the Baptist preacher, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

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