Unjust laws will remain unjust until they are disobeyed by good people. Had brave individuals throughout history not risked imprisonment or worse to challenge tyrannical, racist, and immoral laws, society today, would be much less free — this rule is especially true for black people in America.
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks made history by disobeying an unjust law that required people of color to yield their seats on the bus to white people. When the bus driver told the entire row of black people to move to the back of the bus because a white man boarded, everyone complied, except for Parks.
Parks was arrested and convicted for failing to obey the driver’s seat assignments. The events following her arrest, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the federal ruling of Browder v. Gayle which ruled that segregated buses were unconstitutional, would be a turning point in segregated America.
While Rosa Parks is certainly a large part of American history, her idea to disobey the unjust bus law was not entirely original.
Can you name the first woman who wouldn’t give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama? The answer is not Rosa Parks.
Rosa Parks’ decision to disobey that fateful day was inspired and, in fact, modeled after a 15-year-old hero named Claudette Colvin.
Nine months before Parks was arrested for her choice not to give up her seat, on March 2, 1955, this brave child, without the support of the NAACP, or Civil Rights groups, took a stand on principle alone and refused to give up her seat.