On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give a white man her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala. Google is celebrating the civil-rights pioneer with its daily “doodle.”
Parks, then a seamstress, had found a seat in the first row of the “colored” section of her bus. But when the driver demanded she get up, she declined, which was a violation of the city’s racial segregation laws. Parks was arrested and released from jail on a $100 bail.
“When I declined to give up my seat, it was not that day or bus in particular,” Parks later said. “I just wanted to be free, like everybody else.”
Four days later, civil-rights leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr. started a bus boycott, which lasted for 381 days until the Supreme Court ruled the city’s law unconstitutional. The boycott became part of a larger, nonviolent movement against segregation.
Through her life, Parks earned more than 43 honorary doctorate degrees and hundreds of awards, plaques and keys to cities. President Clinton awarded her the Medal of Freedom, the highest prize awarded to a civilian, in 1996, and she received the Congressional Gold Medal three years later. She died in Detroit in 2005. (via Britannica, RosaParks.org)