december 1955

History Chicks

Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus for home. She took a seat in the first of several rows designated for “colored” passengers. But Montgomery bus drivers had adopted the custom of requiring black passengers to give up their seats to white passengers, when no other seats were available. When her bus was full, the driver asked four black passengers to give up their seats. Three complied, but Rosa refused and remained seated. Her refusal to surrender her seat spurred on a citywide boycott and helped launch nationwide efforts to end segregation of public facilities. In 1987, Parks founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development. The organization runs “Pathways to Freedom” bus tours, introducing young people to important civil rights and Underground Railroad sites throughout the country.
She also published Rosa Parks: My Story, an autobiography recounting her life in the segregated South, and Quiet Strength which includes her memoirs and focuses on the role that religious faith played throughout her life.

December 1, 1955 was the day a black woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. She had already been an active member of Montgomery, Alabama’s NAACP chapter since 1943, but this is the act that kickstarted the Civil Rights Movement and paved the way for many others to follow in her footsteps. Today would have been her 104th birthday. Happy birthday and thank you to one of our greatest heroes ✊🏽🎈

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March 9, 1955 - Disney’s Man In Space airs on television.

61 years ago today, as part of their weekly television program Disneyland, Walt Disney Productions released Man In Space, the first of three space-themed episodes.

Man In Space introduced the public to the science and technology behind space travel and its effects on the human body. Members of Wernher von Braun’s rocket team participated in the series, acting as technical and scientific advisers as well as making appearances.

Disney animator Ward Kimball also acted as narrator in between segments of scientist led explanation.

Two other space-themed episodes were released by the studio during this time, Man and the Moon, on December 28, 1955, and Mars and Beyond December 4, 1957.

The entire 50-minute video can be seen here.

Mr Liu Xiaobo ( December 28, 1955 - July 13, 2017)

China’s most prominent human rights and democracy advocate

Mr. Liu had been in custody since late 2008 for his role in drafting and promoting a manifesto calling for peaceful political change. 

Censors have scrubbed any mention of him from China’s media and internet since, and while his 2010 Nobel brought Mr. Liu international acclaim, he was virtually unknown in his own country. 

China’s Dictatorship described Mr. Liu as a criminal, and said international calls for his release amounted to interference in the country’s judicial affairs.

He wrote prolifically about the value of individual freedom and nonviolent resistance, despite being banned from publishing inside China. He was an effective organizer and a serial hatcher of petitions and open letters. 

He spent most of his last 28 years in prison or another form of detention.

Over time, many in Chinese pro-democracy circles came to see Mr. Liu as a potentially transformative leader, likening him to South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and Czech dissident-turned-president Václav Havel. Mr. Havel supported Mr. Liu’s Nobel Prize nomination.

At the award ceremony in Oslo, Mr. Liu was represented by an empty chair.

Until the revelation in June that Mr. Liu was diagnosed with late-stage cancer, there had been little news of the dissident. 

He was the first Nobel Peace laureate to die in custody since Carl von Ossietzky, a journalist and critic of Adolf Hitler, succumbed to tuberculosis in a prison hospital in Nazi Germany in 1938.

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December 1st 1955: Rosa Parks on the bus

On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old black seamstress from Alabama, refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white man. A member of the NAACP, Parks was returning home from a long day at work when the bus driver ordered her to give up her seat on the full bus for a white man. No stranger to civil rights activism, she was subsequently arrested for civil disobedience in defying the state’s Jim Crow racial segregation laws. Through this act of defiance, Parks sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, during which time African-Americans - under the leadership of a young, charismatic reverend called Martin Luther King Jr. - refused to use the city buses, arguing that they should be integrated per the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. The boycott was successful in forcing Montgomery to end its discriminatory segregation laws, and marked the beginning of the main phase of what is now known as the Civil Rights Movement. From Montgomery, African-Americans across the United States went on to lead sit-ins, freedom rides, and political marches, in an attempt to bring an end to segregation laws which had oppressed their community for so long. These activists were all indebted to Rosa Parks - known as the ‘mother of the Civil Rights Movement’ - for her simple act of defiance, firmly asserting her humanity and her rights as an American citizen. As the movement grew, Parks remained an influential symbol and leader of the movement, which ultimately brought an end to legal segregation and forced Congress to pass the 1964 Civil Rights and 1965 Voting Rights Acts. As for Parks herself, the affair of her arrest and the subsequent boycott caused her to lose her job and made her a victim of harassment and threats. She moved to Detriot and in 1965 began to work in the office of Congressman John Conyers. In 1999, Rosa Parks was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for her role in transforming American race relations, and upon her death in 2005 she lay in state at the U.S. Capitol. Today, 60 years on, we remember Rosa Parks’s personal bravery, the successes of the movement she inspired, and the steps yet to be taken as the struggle against systemic racism continues.

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day…No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in”

60 years ago today