Dec 1, 1955 CE: Rosa Parks Arrested

Dec 1, 1955 CE: Rosa Parks Arrested

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, because she refused to give up her bus seat to another passenger.


6 - 12


Social Studies, Civics, U.S. History

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On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, after a bus driver ordered her to give up her bus seat to another passenger, and she refused. The other passenger was white and Parks was black. In 1955, the law in Alabama required African Americans to give up their seats to whites if the bus was full. Many reports say Parks was tired after a long day of work, a characterization Parks herself denied: “People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day . . . No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” The African-American community in Montgomery, led by local ministers Ralph Abernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr., responded to Parks’ arrest by organizing a remarkable year-long bus boycott. In December 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court banned all segregation on public transportation. In 1999, the U.S. Congress recognized Parks as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.”

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National Geographic Society
Mary Crooks, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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