Go to the back of the bus

This is a photograph of Mrs. Rosa Parks, a brave pioneer for equity in transport. On December 1, 1955 Mrs. Parks boarded a bus in the southern city of Montgomery Alabama after a long day of work and took a seat in the back of the bus that was marked for use by both white and blacks.

A few stops later a group of white men boarded the bus and had trouble finding available seats together. The bus driver announced “Niggers move back”. Parks, a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and tired of the abuses she had suffered daily on the city buses, decided she needed to make a statement and refused to give up her seat.

The bus driver stopped the bus, called the police and Rosa Parks was taken to jail. Mrs. Parks was charged with a violation of Chapter 6, Section 11 segregation law of the Montgomery City code, even though she technically had not taken up a white-only seat—she had been in a colored section.

The beginning of a journey far longer and far more important than many at the time would ever have guessed. And here in 2012, and almost anywhere in the world, we still have, miles to go before we sleep.

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