The Henry Ford Museum has announced it will mark the 100th birthday of the late civil rights hero, Rosa Parks. In 1955 Parks refused to move to the back of a bus because of her skin color, launching a civil rights movement that reverberates to this day.
The museum, in Dearborn, Michigan, near Detroit, announced last week that they will hold a special 12-hour celebration on Feb. 4th, 2013 to mark Parks' 100th birthday. The celebration will be filmed by Detroit Public TV and include the participation of civil rights leader Julian Bond and the Rosa Parks biographer Douglas Brinkley. There will be live music and other presentations.
The Rosa Parks Bus
A feature of the museum is the Rosa Parks bus, the city bus the African-American woman, then 42, sat down on in Montgomery, Alabama on Dec. 1, 1955. Parks was on her way home from work and was tired and later said she spontaneously decided that she was not going to move to the back of the bus for a white person. She had had, she said later, enough of the humiliation.
She was arrested and spent a night in jail but her actions spawned a movement that included a 381 day boycott of the Montgomery bus system, one which saw the segregation law rescinded. Her decision lives as an example of the heights of dignity that a human can climb to.
Parks had a strong connection to the Detroit area, having moved there in 1965 and worked for U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D), who still serves in Congress, until her retirement in 1988. She died in 2005 at the age of 92.