December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, refused to give her seat at the front of a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama to a white man.
Parks declined to move in defiance of local laws, which ordered blacks to sit at the back of the bus.
Parks was subsequently arrested for her personal protest of bus segregation laws.
The arrest sparked a yearlong boycott of the city transit system by the black community. This act was a violation of an Alabama statute discouraging organized boycotting.
The leader of the then-forming civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, jr., was later found guilty of orchestrating the Montgomery bus boycott.
The Supreme Court eventually ruled the law that required blacks to sit toward the rear of buses unconstitutional in April 1956.
December 1, 2010 President Obama releases a statement on the 55th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
"Fifty-five years ago, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus – an act that challenged the moral conscience of an entire nation.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott marked a turning point in American history – the moment where we began the march toward the Civil Rights Movement and the eventual outlawing of racial segregation and discrimination.
Rosa Parks and the many other leaders and foot soldiers in that struggle for justice championed our founding principles of freedom and equality for all, and today, as we commemorate the anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, I encourage all Americans to honor their legacy – the legacy of Americans who marched bravely, worked tirelessly, and devoted their lives to the never-ending task of making our country a more perfect union. "
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