‘People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.’
It was a Thursday evening in December 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama. After a long day of work as a seamstress, Rosa Parks boarded a city bus to go home. She walked past the first few rows of seats marked ‘Whites Only.’ It was against the law for her, as an African American, to sit in these. She sat in the middle of the bus, where she was permitted to sit as long as no white person was standing. This was a deeply racist, segregated society.
The bus continued along its route, gradually getting more crowded. The driver noticed that all the seats in the ‘Whites Only’ section were taken, and ordered the people in Parks’ row to move to the back of the bus, where there were no seats. Reluctantly, they all got up… except Rosa. And just like that, a small act of resistance sparked national protest.
Parks’ refusal to surrender her seat spurred a city-wide boycott, leading the Supreme Court to lift the law requiring segregation on public buses. It also saw the emergence of Martin Luther King Jr as a civil rights activist, and the growth of the wider movement for racial equality. Parks became an international icon, labelled the ‘first lady of civil rights’ and the ‘the mother of the freedom movement.’
Celebrate the iconic woman who made a stand by staying in her seat.
Designed and made in England from organic unbleached cotton. Approx size 48cm x 70cm