Today we celebrate the power of, “No!”
On this date 60 years ago, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus. Her act of defiance – a simple No! – set a brush fire that ultimately consumed Jim Crow.
When the white only seats in the front of the Cleveland Avenue bus in Montgomery, Alabama, filled with passengers on the afternoon of Dec. 1, 1955, several white men were left standing. To make room, bus driver James Blake moved the “colored” section sign behind the row Parks was sitting in and demanded that she, and the three other black people, move to seats in the rear of the bus.
The three other people in the row complied.
Parks did not.
“When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up, and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ And he said, ‘Well, if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested.’ I said, ‘You may do that,’” Parks recalled in a 1987 PBS documentary on the Civil Rights movement.
Blake called the police and an officer arrested Parks. She spent the next day in jail. She was tried four days later and convicted of disorderly conduct. The judge fined her $10 and $4 in court costs. She also lost her job as a seamstress at a local department store.
“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired,…