The United Steelworkers mourns the passing of Rosa Parks, the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, whose actions sparked a movement that changed the face of our nation. Mrs. Parks passed away at the age of 92 on Monday, October 24, 2005, in Detroit, Michigan.
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the front of a bus to a white man and move to the back. Mrs. Parks, a seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama, states that she wasn't exhausted from a day of work as it was widely reported. "The only tired I was, was tired of giving in," she said -- tired of the degradation and unjust treatment that African-Americans were subjected to daily.
"Our mistreatment was just not right, and I was tired of it," Mrs. Parks wrote in her book, Quiet Strength: The Hope and the Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation.
"I kept thinking about my mother and my grandparents, and how strong they were. I knew there was a possibility of being mistreated, but an opportunity was being given to me to do what I had asked of others."
Her defiance sparked the famed 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott, led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., lasted more than a year and opened the door for anti-segregation legislation and a Supreme Court ruling to ban segregation on public transportation. By December 1956, the buses in Montgomery were officially desegregated.
Not the accidental activist, Mrs. Parks had been active in the movement for change for some time. She was secretary of the local chapter of the NAACP for 12 years before her noted arrest. And rarely is it mentioned that Mrs. Parks' most noted bus ride was not her first act of defiance on a Montgomery bus.