The struggle for civil rights doesn’t begin in the Sixties. That’s just when it got loud enough for people to start hearing.
|The story of civil rights begins with small acts of defiance by courageous but otherwise ordinary people. Like Rosa Parks.
Rosa Parks, a 43 year old Black seamstress, refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. Which was illegal. And as preposterous as it sounds today – this was Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. So they arrested her.
See, they figured you couldn’t let a thing like that slide. Might start something and “colored folks” might forget their proper place at the back of the bus.
A small act. A mountain of reaction.
The following night, fifty leaders of the Black community met at the Dexter Ave. Baptist Church to discuss the issue. Among them, a charismatic young minister with a vision – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
They organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott which eventually cost the bus line 65% of its revenues.
Eight months later the Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was illegal.
|Parks, who had lost her job because of the boycott, moved to Detroit, Michigan the following year, and again took in sewing. She also worked as a fundraiser for the NAACP. In 1965 she was hired by Congressman John Conyers, Jr., also a civil rights leader, to manage his Detroit office.
She is still active in advancing Civil Rights and was a guest star on TV’s “Touched by an Angel.”