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National Freedom Day ~ Rosa Parks Centennial Celebration ~ California State Capitol

National Freedom Day ~ Rosa Parks Centennial Celebration ~ California State Capitol

Rosa Parks famous act of defiance — refusing to give up her seat in the “Heart of Dixie” December 1, 1955 led to her quiet arrest and minimal fine that sparked the Montgomery bus boycott. 

The golden legacy of Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, in the ongoing war towards equity and equal opportunity, remains the standard of a lifetime of community service and demonstrated faith in action.

The national symbol, "Ole Blue" our Sacramento Regional Transit bus is on display at the California State Capitol in honor of Rosa Parks Centennial Celebration, National Freedom Day, February 1, 2013.

Many choose to believe that Rosa Parks decision was simply a "one time" quiet act of rebellion by an old lady who was tired from working all day as a seamstress during the Christmas holiday rush. 

Rosa Parks was a lifelong “rebellious” activist and organiser, not a "tired old lady," who loved the style and studied the transformation of Malcolm X, while teaching a 26 year old new resident of Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Rosa Parks was 42 year’s young at the time of her arrest.  Sista Rosa, a fine butter pecan women of African ancestry, a lifelong member of the African Methodist Episcipal Church is reportedly of Choctaw, Irish-Scottish and Yourba ancestry.

In 1943, she became the second woman to join the Montgomery branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and served as an unpaid secretary, she kept records on cases of discrimination and violence against blacks.

Parks received activist training from veteran activist Ella Baker, who stayed in Parks’ home during her trips to Montgomery.  Most importantantly, Rosa Parks was a member of the Montgomery Women’s Political Caucus, the organization whose initiative would later organize the Montgomery bus boycott in motion and help thrust Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. into the national stage.

Like most activists, Parks suffered years of frustration, failure and defeat before tasting victory.  Parks had refused to comply with the segregation laws on the buses long before 1955.

In November 1955, the Interstate Commerce Commission outlawed segregation in interstate travel.  Finally having an "upstanding" case to organise around, Montgomery activists sprang into action, launching the bus boycott.

For more than a year, Montgomery’s black population carpooled, taxied and walked themselves to work.  Three hundred and eighty-one days and countless physical confrontations, legal fines and court injunctions later, the organized and disiplined collective community action was victorious.

Death threats eventually drove Rosa Parks from Montgomery to join family members in Detroit.  A young Michigan Congressman John Conyers first act upon a victory election night in 1965 was to hire Rosa Parks who help work for his campaign. 

As long delayed plans to install Rosa Parks within the National Staturary Hall of the United States Capitol continue, the global impact of the legacy of Rosa Louise McCauley Parks will be built over years by people who commit their lives to the struggle for one standard for humanity, throughout the world.

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