Recalling the incident for "Eyes on the Prize," a 1987 public television series on the civil rights movement, Mrs. Parks said: "When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up and I said, 'No, I'm not.' And he said, 'Well, if you don't stand up, I'm going to have to call the police and have you arrested.' I said, 'You may do that.' "
Her arrest was the answer to prayers for the Women's Political Council, which was set up in 1946 in response to the mistreatment of black bus riders, and for E. D. Nixon, a leading advocate of equality for blacks in Montgomery.
Blacks had been arrested, and even killed, for disobeying bus drivers. They had begun to build a case around a 15-year-old girl's arrest for refusing to give up her seat, and Mrs. Parks had been among those raising money for the girl's defense. But when they learned that the girl was pregnant, they decided that she was an unsuitable symbol for their cause.
Mrs. Parks, on the other hand, was regarded as "one of the finest citizens of Montgomery - not one of the finest Negro citizens - but one of the finest citizens of Montgomery," Dr. King said.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Yes. Rosa Parks. I always admire her for the woman behind the myth: the one who was active in the NAACP and the Women’s Political Council; the one who was one of many women looking for an opportunity to get arrested for not giving up her seat. I admire her for not just being tired, but for being organized.