- Cultural Calendar
Did you know that there are two celebrations of Rosa Parks each year? This one is the first, which is celebrated in both California and Missouri, on the date of her birth, February 4. The second Rosa Parks Day is observed on December 1, the anniversary of the date of her quiet rebellion and arrest.
Parks was certainly a woman who deserved to be celebrated twice a year, as many consider her courage to have directly sparked the Civil Rights movement.
On December 1, 1955, Parks, a Black woman in Montgomery, Alabama, quietly refused to relinquish her seat on the bus to another white passenger, breaking the Alabama law of the time that required Black passengers to do so. Parks was arrested for the act, setting off a massive 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system by thousands—and directly leading to a 1956 Supreme Court decision that banned segregation on public transportation, and even more importantly, to the rise of an eloquent and passionate young preacher who joined in those boycotts and the outcry for justice—Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rosa Parks passed away at the age of ninety-two on October 24, 2005. On October 30, she became the first woman to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. As we honor her memory and achievements, let us also use her inspiration to act and speak out whenever we encounter racism or hate.