On this day in history, December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake’s order to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger after the white section was filled.

By refusing to give up her seat, Rosa Parks helped initiate the civil rights movement in the United States. The leaders of the local black community organized a bus boycott that began the day Parks was convicted of violating the segregation laws. Led by a young Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the boycott lasted more than a year and ended only when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional.

Over the next half-century, Parks became a nationally recognized symbol of dignity and strength in the struggle to end entrenched racial segregation.

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