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US Remembers Rosa Parks on 60th Anniversary of Refusal to Give Up Bus Seat

  • VOA News

Rosa Parks smiles during a ceremony where she received the Congressional Medal of Freedom in Detroit, Nov. 28, 1999.

Rosa Parks smiles during a ceremony where she received the Congressional Medal of Freedom in Detroit, Nov. 28, 1999.

Sixty years ago today, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated Montgomery, Alabama bus, launching a year long boycott that catapulted the Civil Rights movement in the United States.

The then 42-year-old activist was arrested for defying the city's orders, which mandated black riders ride in the back, whites in the front, and middle section allowed for both races, but with blacks having to move on the request of whites.

Parks was one of a number of black Montgomery residents arrested for resisting segregation on the city's buses, but it was the protest of her arrest that launched a 385-day boycott that led to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling desegregating public transportation in the city.

In a 1995 interview, Parks said she did not feel anger at her arrest. "But I did feel determined to take this as an opportunity to let it be known that I did not want to be treated in that manner and that people have endured it far too long," she said.

U.S. President Barack Obama in a statement Tuesday that Park's "lifetime of activism - and her singular moment of courage - continue to inspire us today."

"Refusing to give up a seat on a segregated bus was the simplest of gestures, but her grace, dignity, and refusal to tolerate injustice helped spark a Civil Rights Movement that spread across America."

She died in 2005 at the age of 92. In 2013, Parks was honored with a full size statue in the U.S. Capitol.

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