Early in the 20th Century the city of Montgomery, Alabama passed laws that segregated buses. The front section was for whites and the back was for blacks. The sections were divided by a sign labeled “colored” and could be moved at the discretion of the bus driver. Another stipulation of the law was that when there were white riders already seated in the front section, boarding black passengers were required to enter the front to pay, then exit the bus and walk to re-enter through the door in the back.
In 1943 an African American woman entered one of these buses and, after paying, walked straight to the back and sat down. The bus driver told her to get up and exit the bus and enter through the door in the back as the law required. She exited the bus and waited for the next one, committing to never ride that driver’s bus again. That woman’s name was Rosa Parks. Twelve years later she would enter his bus again. This time when he told her to give up her seat for a white male passenger she refused. Despite the potential consequences of being arrested, losing her job, or even physical violence she had the courage of conviction to stand for what was right.