Mother of civil rights movement remembered worldwide

ANKARA 

Thursday marks the 14th anniversary of the death of Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, an American activist in the civil rights movement, best known for her pioneering role in a bus boycott.

Rosa Parks who is revered as “the first lady of civil rights” by the U.S. Congress, was arrested for refusing a bus driver’s order to yield her seat in the “colored section” to a white passenger after the whites-only section was filled on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, on Dec. 1, 1955.

Parks’ act of defiance is regarded as one of the milestones of black resistance against discrimination in the U.S.

Her arrest for an “act of civil disobedience” in violating Alabama segregation laws and subsequent appeal led to the Montgomery bus boycott which took place on Dec. 5, 1955-Dec. 20, 1956.

During the 381-day-long boycott, African-Americans refused to use city buses to protest the segregated seating.

The boycott is regarded as the first large-scale U.S. demonstration of the post-World War II (1939–1945) civil rights movement.

It ended when Alabama’s discriminatory laws on bus segregation was removed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1956.

The female activist, who lost her job after the boycott and received death threats, moved to Detroit, a city in the midwestern state of Michigan, and began her fight against racism.

During the presidency of Bill Clinton, Parks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 and the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award granted by Congress, in 1999.

Parks lost her life on Oct. 24, 2005 at the age of 92.

Civil rights movement

Black Americans stood out for their constitutional rights through legal channels and carried out peaceful protests during their struggle for civil rights from the late 1940s until the late 1960s.

One of the initiators of the bus boycott, a young American Christian named Martin Luther King, Jr., came into play as a pioneering leader of the American civil rights movement, from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.

African Americans had long asked for equal rights and called for an end to racial segregation.

Their calls achieved widespread support, but local and state authorities resisted change through violence.

Although mass movements led to some progress in civil rights in the 1960s, for some African Americans the achievements were not satisfactory.

Therefore, the late 1960s witnessed race riots and rise of further aggressive African American factions.
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