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Rosa Parks was an American civil rights activist whose refusal to give up her seat on a public bus precipitated the —56 Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama, which became the spark that ignited the civil rights movement in the United States.


Rosa parks

I didn't want to discuss it with them," she says. I don't know how I got off that bus but the other students said they manhandled me off the bus and put me in the squad car. When the white seats were filled, the driver, J Fred Black, asked Parks and three others to give up their seats.

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Three of the students had got up reluctantly and I remained sitting next to the window," she says. But what I do remember is when they asked me to stick my arms out the window and that's when they handcuffed me," Colvin says.

More from the BBC. Related Topics. On 2 MarchColvin and her friends finished their classes and were let out of school early. Like Colvin, Parks was commuting home and was seated in the "coloured section" of the bus.

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The problem arose because all the seats on the bus were taken. But Colvin told the driver she had paid her fare and that it was her constitutional right to remain where she was. Soon afterwards, on 5 December, 40, African-American bus passengers boycotted the system and that afternoon, black leaders met to form the Montgomery Improvement Association MIAelecting a young pastor, Martin Luther King Jr, as their president. Inthe writer Phillip Hoose published a book that told her story in detail for the first time. The driver wanted all of them to move to the back and stand so that the white passenger could sit.

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Like Colvin, Parks refused, and was arrested and fined. On the night of Parks' arrest, the Women's Political Council WPCa group of black women working for civil rights, began circulating flyers calling for a boycott of the bus system. After Colvin was released from prison, there were fears that her home would be attacked.

My mother knew I was disappointed with the system and all the injustice we were receiving and she said to me: 'Well, Claudette, you finally did it. Today their boycott, modelled on the one in Montgomery, is largely forgotten - but it was a milestone in achieving equality. Instead of being taken to a juvenile detention centre, Colvin was taken to an adult jail and put in a small cell with nothing in it but a broken sink and a cot without a mattress. The boycott was very effective but the city still resisted complying with protesters' demands - an end to the policy preventing the hiring of black bus drivers and the introduction of first-come first-seated rule.

Rosa parks: timeline of her life, montgomery bus boycott and death

Another factor was that before long Colvin became pregnant. Colvin says Parks had the right image to become the face of resistance to segregation because of her work with the NAACP.

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Under the twisted logic of segregation the white woman still couldn't sit down, as then white and black passengers would have been sharing a row of seats - and the whole point was that white passengers were meant to be closer to the front. She herself didn't talk about it much, but she spoke recently to the BBC. The churches, buses and schools were all segregated and you couldn't even go into the same restaurants," Claudette Colvin says.

I can still vividly hear the click of those keys. The bus driver had the authority to as the seats, so when more white passengers got on the bus, he asked for the seats. The legal case turned on the testimony of four plaintiffs, one of whom was Claudette Colvin. Fifty years have passed since campaigners overturned a ban on ethnic minorities working on buses in one British city. A year later, on 20 Decemberthe US Supreme Court ruled that segregation on the buses must end. To sustain the boycott, communities organised carpools and the Montgomery's African-American taxi drivers charged only 10 cents - the same price as bus fare - for fellow African Americans.

16 rosa parks quotes about civil rights

Colvin and her friends were sitting in a row a little more than half way down the bus - two were on the right side of the bus and two on the left - and a white passenger was standing in the aisle between them. Eclipsed by Parks, her act of defiance was largely ignored for many years. Tubman and Truth. The organisation didn't want a teenager in the role, she says. In Marchnine months before Rosa Parks defied segregation laws by refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, year-old Claudette Colvin did exactly the same thing.

Most of the people didn't have problems with us sitting on the bus, most New Yorkers cared about economic problems. I felt inspired by these women because my teacher taught us about them in so much detail," she says. Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth were both African Americans who sought the abolition of slavery Tubman was well known for helping fellow slaves escape slavery using the Underground Railroad Truth was a passionate campaigner who fought for women's rights, best known for her speech Ain't I a Woman?

Claudette colvin: the year-old who came before rosa parks

Going to a segregated school had one advantage, she found - her teachers gave her a good grounding in black history. However, some white passengers still refused to sit near a black person. Members of the community acted as lookouts, while Colvin's father sat up all night with a shotgun, in case the Ku Klux Klan turned up.

Two policemen boarded the bus and asked Colvin why she wouldn't give up her seat.

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Colvin says that after Supreme Court made its decision, things slowly began to change. When Colvin moved to New York many years later to become a nurse, she didn't tell many people about the part she played in the civil rights movement. Long Re Black interest Inspiring stories. Colvin was the first person to be arrested for challenging Montgomery's bus segregation policies, so her story made a few local papers - but nine months later, the same act of defiance by Rosa Parks was reported all over the world.

What was behind the Bristol bus boycott? Find out more. Colvin knew her very well. The driver kept on going but stopped when he reached a junction where a police squad car was waiting.

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Rosa Parks is best known for refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in , which sparked a yearlong boycott that was a turning point in the civil rights movement.


Ironically, Rosa Parks took a stand by sitting down.