MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Tuesday marked 65 years since Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her bus seat.
Her arrest changed history, leading to a nationwide movement calling to end racial segregation.
Sixty-five years ago, 42-year-old Rosa Parks, a seamstress, boarded a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Parks took a seat in the back of the bus, behind the first 10 rows reserved for white riders.
The evening rush brought more passengers on board.
The bus driver insisted Parks give up her seat so white passengers could have it.
Decades later, community leaders in Mankato, like Bukata Hayes, reflect on how one person can change the world that future generations will inherit.
”We’re all working so that we don’t pass this down to you. So, understand that like all of what’s happening right now, right, is so that y’all don’t inherit what we inherited,” said Hayes, executive director of the Greater Mankato Diversity Council.
Parks took a stand and landed in handcuffs. News of her arrest sparked a 381-day bus boycott movement that called for an end to segregation in the public transit system.
”It’s so important for us in this day, that in this time, right, that we begin to show the courage and begin to question and to begin work to make our systems and structures work best for all of us, and really her example is a kind of clarion call for all of us,” Hayes added.
We remember Parks’s courage in the face of injustice today, as the fight for racial equality is still an active battle.
The City of Mankato announced Monday that a seat on each Mankato city bus will be reserved in honor of Rosa Parks between Tuesday, Dec. 1, and Dec. 8.
A news release from the City of Mankato adds that each reserved seat will feature a sign that reminds riders of Parks’ quiet strength made a seat available to all riders.
“Parks made history when she refused to give up her seat while riding a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955,” Mankato YWCA Executive Director Natasha Lopez-Rodriguez said. “Her decision helped lead to the ending of racial segregation on public facilities.”
In addition, a QR code will also be included on the flyer on each reserved seat that allows riders to learn more about Parks through resources available at the Blue Earth County Library.
The City of Mankato was joined by the Greater Mankato Diversity Council, Mankato YWCA and Blue Earth County in this effort to remember the legacy of Rosa Parks.