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Rep. John Lewis Pays Tribute to the 60th Anniversary of Rosa Parks' Bus Protest

December 1, 2015
Press Release

                Rep. John Lewis made this statement to honor the 60th Anniversary of Rosa Parks' historic protest against segregation on buses in Montgomery, Alabama on December 1, 1955.  Mrs. Parks' unwillingness to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus sparked one of the longest protests in American history.  African American bus riders launched a 381 day embargo known as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which ended decades of segregation in public transportation in the city.

            Rep. Lewis made this statement as he reflected upon the anniversary:

            "By sitting down, Rosa Parks inspired hundreds and thousands of us to stand up, to speak up, speak out.  By just refusing to give up her seat to a white patron, she stirred an entire generation of people, both young and old, to put their bodies on the line for justice by sitting in at lunch counters and in movie theaters. 

            "I will never forget the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  I remember it so well.   I was only 15 years old.  I grew up only 50 miles away from Montgomery. One simple act on the part of a great woman gave an entire generation a way out.  She taught us how to strike a blow against legalized segregation and racial discrimination.  Rosa Parks freed not just herself, not just a city, but a people and an entire nation from the burden and legacy of hate."

            " As we face the injustices of this time, it is important that we remember the action of Rosa Parks.  Her life and her contribution to the struggle for human dignity demonstrates that one individual can indeed change a powerful nation and that a determined people united for good can never be defeated."