Rosa Parks’s official arrest report: She refused to give bus seat to white man 58 years ago today

Here’s a piece of history: the arrest report from Montgomery, Ala., police for Rosa Parks on Dec. 1, 1955, the day she rode a  Montgomery city bus and refused to get up and move to the back of the bus so a white man could take her seat, as she was expected to in that era of segregation. She was arrested, and in the process, helped launch a new era in the American civil rights movement.

 

Parks was a seamstress in Alabama and a civil rights activist, but she said after the incident that she had not pre-planned it. She was convicted of violating a law mandating segregation on city buses and fined. She appealed as civil rights activists organized a boycott of Montgomery buses — coordinated by the Montgomery Improvement Association of which a 26-year-old minister named Martin Luther King Jr. was president — that lasted 13 months. It ended when the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to require segregation on public buses.

Rosa Parks became known as “the mother of the civil rights movement.”

 

(The National Archives)
(The National Archives)

 

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss · December 1, 2013