Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Thank You Sister Rosa

This is an excerpt from a 1956 radio interview with Rosa Parks

The driver said that if I refused to leave the seat, he would have to call the police. And I told him, “Just call the police.” He then called the officers of the law. They came and placed me under arrest, violation of the segregation law of the City and State of Alabama Transportation. I didn't think I was violating any. I felt that I was not being treated right, and that I had a right to retain the seat that I had taken as a passenger on the bus. The time had just come when I had been pushed as far as I could stand to be pushed, I suppose. They placed me under arrest. And I wasn't afraid. I don't know why I wasn't, but I didn't feel afraid. I had decided that I would have to know once and for all what rights I had as a human being and a citizen, even in Montgomery, Alabama.

And I was bond bailed out shortly after the arrest. The trial was held December 5 on the next Monday. And the protest began from that day, and it is still continuing. And so, the case was appealed. From the time of the arrest on Thursday night, and Friday and Saturday and Sunday, the word had gotten around over Montgomery of my arrest because of this incident. There were telephone calls from those who knew about it to others. The ministers were very much interested in it, and we had our meetings in the churches. And being the minority, we felt that nothing could be gained by violence or threats or belligerent attitude. We believed that more could be accomplished through the nonviolent passive resistance, and people just began to decide that they wouldn't ride the bus on the day of my trial, which was on Monday, December 5.

Two things here that are conspicuous by their present-day rarity: 1) courage to take a hit in standing up for one's rights, 2) black churches mobilizing their congregations to take a political stand on a matter affecting the black community


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