Rosa Parkes.
Rosa Parkes. Contributed

COURTICE'S CORNER: How an everyday woman changed the world

ROSA Parkes was born in 1913 and passed away on October 24, 2005.

On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parkes refused an order by a bus driver to leave her seat to allow a white passenger to sit as the "white only” seats had been filled.

The driver called the police and Rosa was arrested and charged.

She was taken to police headquarters where she was released on bail.

On December 5 a group of leaders of the African American community formed the Montgomery Improvement Association, electing Martin Luther King as minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

The MIA believed the arrest of Rosa Parkes provided an excellent opportunity to create real change.

Rosa Parkes' court appearance before a crowd of 500 supporters saw her fined $10 and a $4 court fee.

African Americans boycotted bus travel for 381 days, leaving buses idle.

Violence flared and African American churches were burned and some homes destroyed.

The African American community took legal action against segregation on public transport systems.

After success in the District Court, the US Supreme Court oversaw an appeal by the City of Montgomery, however the court upheld the District Court's ruling. The City of Montgomery was forced to end segregation on public transport.

Rosa Parkes and her husband lost their jobs and then moved to Detroit.

Rosa worked for US Representative John Conyers until 1988.

She was active in campaigns for welfare, education, affordable housing and in attempting to improve people's lives across her country.

A young woman who stood up against segregation in 1955 was the inspiration that African Americans embraced in the long and arduous road to equality.

Rosa received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999, and was awarded two dozen honorary doctorates.

One would require an entire edition of the NewsMail to list all of Rosa Parkes' achievements and she remains an inspiration.

No one remembers the bus driver who had her arrested for having the temerity to stand against racist segregation.