Monday, October 24, 2005

Debts That Can Never Be Repaid

On December 1, 1955, ROSA PARKS took a seat directly behind the white section of a Montgomery, Alabama bus and was asked to yield her seat to white passengers. The bus driver threatened to have her arrested but she remained where she was. He then stopped the bus, brought in some policemen, and had Parks taken to police headquarters.

Certainly her case was not a unique; African Americans had been arrested for disobeying the segregation laws many times before. NAACP officials and Montgomery church leaders -- emboldened by the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v Board of Education decided that Parks' arrest could provide the necessary impetus for a successful bus boycott. They asked Montgomery's African American riders--who comprised over 70 percent of the bus company's business--to stop riding the buses until the company was willing to revise its policies toward African American riders and hire African American bus drivers. The boycott ended after nearly a year and Montgomery's busses were fully integrated.

Ms. Parks died today at the age of 92.

MAMIE TILL MOBLEY, a catalyst in the Civil Rights Movement, insisted on an open casket at the Chicago funeral of her 14-year-old son, Emmett, so the world could witness racism's brutality after he was abducted and lynched in Money, Miss., on August 28, 1955, for allegedly whistling at a White woman. The murder and subsequent acquittal of two White men fueled outrage that was an emotional spark of the Movement. Mobley, a woman of grace, dignity and courage, continued as a crusader for civil rights, keeping the tragedy of her son's murder on the public's consciousness until she died on January 6, 2003 at the age of 81.


At 7:48 AM, Blogger WHS Cheer Girl said...

The story of Emmett Till never fails to horrify my classes. I always open my discussion of the civil rights movement with this tragic event in our nation's history. It personalizes the entire movement for them. In April I can still bring my classes back to the ideas presented in the unit just my mentioning his name.


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