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Grass-Roots Resistance in the South

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Part of the Studies in Contemporary History book series (SCH)


It was Thursday 1 December 1955. Mrs Rosa Parks, who did so much to inspire the young Melba Pattillo, was 42 years old when she was arrested. Returning home after her day’s work as a tailor’s assistant in a department store in Montgomery, Alabama, she took her seat on the bus and soon it was full and a white man was left standing. The bus driver ordered her and three other African American passengers to move because under the city ordinance no black was allowed to sit parallel with a white passenger. The others reluctantly moved but Mrs Parks did not. Three times the bus driver, J. F. Blake, told her to move and then she simply said: ‘No.’ Warned that she would be arrested, Mrs Parks told him to go right ahead. Blake left the bus, called the police, and Mrs Parks was arrested. The events that sparked off the Montgomery bus boycott were completed with her being charged with violation of the city bus segregation ordinance (Garrow, 1988).

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© 1997 William T. Martin Riches

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Riches, W.T.M. (1997). Grass-Roots Resistance in the South. In: The Civil Rights Movement. Studies in Contemporary History. Palgrave, London.

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-333-61100-5

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-349-25880-2

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