On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to stand, and then she was arrested for not giving up her seat.
At the time, people likely pointed and criticized. Some empathized. Others took action and supported what became the Montgomery Bus Boycott. As history tells us, she was judged and jailed. In turn, she later was ostracized and labeled.
From news accounts, talking heads had a field day with such extraordinary defiance.
Fast forward 50 years and Rosa Parks has been recognized posthumously for her courage and willingness to make a difference. During her time, she was a trailblazer who encompassed courage and tenacity that most might not have been able to handle.
Her actions also represented a new wave of civil disobedience through non-violence. It was a form of resistance but without defiance. Thankfully her silent protest paved the way for a variety of athletes and public figures for decades to follow including boxer Muhammad Ali and Olympic champions Tommy Smith and John Carlos. All of their actions included:
- Respectfully disagreement
- Silent, non-violent action
- Call for greater equity and consideration