by Mike Taylor, SDSU

The students will explore who Rosa Parks was and what her role was in the Montgomery bus boycott by writing journal entries as if they were Rosa Parks themselves and were living through the events of that time.

Introduction


On Thursday evening December 1, 1955, after a long day of work as a seamstress Rosa Parks boards a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama for the ride home.

Mrs. Parks walks past the first few mostly empty rows of seats marked "Whites Only." It's against the law for an African American like her to sit in these seats. She finally settles for a spot in the middle of the bus. Black people are allowed to sit in this section as long as no white person is standing. Though Rosa Parks hates the segregation laws, and has been fighting for civil rights at the NAACP for more than 10 years, until today she has never been one to break rules.

As the bus continues its route, filling with each stop, the driver notices that all the seats in the "Whites Only" section are now taken, and that more white people have just climbed aboard. He orders the people in Mrs. Park's row to move to the back of the bus, where there are no open seats. At first no one moves, but when the driver barks at the black passengers a second time, they all get up. . . except for Rosa Parks.

As the bus driver continues shouting at her to move, Rosa Parks refuses to get up from her seat prompting the driver to stop the bus and confront her face-to-face. When this still doesn't have any effect he leaves the bus and returns with a policeman who arrests her for violating segregation laws.

The next day a judge finds her guilty of breaking a city segregation law and fines her $14. Also on that same day, black leaders call for a city-wide boycott of the Montgomery bus system. This boycott which lasted 381 days is led by a popular 26 year old local minister - Martin Luther King Jr. In November of 1956 the Supreme Court ruled that Montgomery's segregated bus system was unconstitutional.

In this WebQuest you are going to take the place of Rosa Parks around the time of the bus boycott.