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.”
civil rights movement

(~1954-1968) process to establish equal rights for all people in the United States, focusing on the rights of African Americans.


group of organisms or a social group interacting in a specific region under similar environmental conditions.


legislative branch of the government, responsible for making laws. The U.S. Congress has two bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate.


the leader of an area of government. In the U.S., ministers are called secretaries.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

(December 1, 1955December 20, 1956) protest to end discrimination on city buses that took the form of people in Montgomery, Alabama, refusing to ride buses until African Americans were given equal rights to seating.

public transportation

methods of movement that are available to all community members for a fee, and which follow a fixed route and schedule: buses, subways, trains and ferries.


unusual and dramatic.


the systemic separation of people based on race, religion, or caste.

Supreme Court

highest judicial authority on issues of national or constitutional importance in the U.S.

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