Civil Rights Worker.
In Montgomery, Alabama, as in all areas of the South, African Americans were expected to obey the laws of segregation, to be separated from white people. On public buses, that meant taking a back seat—or no seat, if a white person entered and the bus was full. On December 1, 1955, a bus driver ordered a seamstress named Rosa Parks to give up her seat to a white man. When she refused, she was arrested and fined.
The matter might have stopped there. But Parks agreed to let the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) fight her case in court. They argued that segregated seats deprived Rosa Parks of her basic constitutional rights. At the same time, leaders asked Montgomery’s African Americans to boycott, or refuse to ride, the city buses. Week after week, the buses were nearly empty, even though people were threatened by angry crowds of white segregationists. After 382 days, the boycott ended when the Supreme Court agreed that segregated seats were in fact unconstitutional. The idea of peaceful resistance to segregation rapidly spread throughout the South. Through her brave act, Parks helped launch the modern civil rights movement.