Dec. 1, 1955: Rosa Parks Is Arrested for Refusing to Give up Bus Seat

On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white passenger, leading to her arrest and sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

For many, this day became a symbolic start for the civil rights movement. 

americanexperiencepbs‘s acclaimed “Eyes on The Prize" series covered all the major events of the civil rights movement.

On the accompanying site, read the national press during the boycott and browse through photos of Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and even ordinary citizens who participated in this historic campaign for equality.

Photo: Rosa Parks’ booking photo upon being arrested on December 1, 1955. 

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.
—  Rosa Parks

Today in American history: Activist Rosa Parks is born in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1913. In 1955, Parks courageously refused to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a white man, defying the discriminatory laws of the time. Her extraordinary dedication to civil rights continues to inspire. Show your commitment to equality for all with the Rosa Parks Forever® stamp

Rosa Parks’s name and image used under license with the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development.

Happy Birthday Rosa Parks!

Civil rights activist Rosa Parks was born on this day in Tuskegee, Alabama (February 4, 1913). Her refusal to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus spurred a city-wide boycott. The city of Montgomery had no choice but to lift the law requiring segregation on public buses. Rosa Parks received many accolades during her lifetime, including the NAACP’s highest award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. ( #BlackHistoryMonth

February 4, 1913: Rosa Parks Is Born

Civil rights icon Rosa Parks was born on this day in 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her 1955 refusal to move from a bus seat reserved for whites triggered a national campaign to end segregation. She became an important symbol of the Civil Rights Movement and is known as ‘the first lady of civil rights.’

Explore Rosa Parks’ life and legacy with PBS Black Culture Connection.

Photo: Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (National Archives)Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (National Archives)

I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.
—  Rosa Parks