Special to The Dallas Examiner
Dallas Area Rapid Transit commemorated the 60th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ decision to keep her seat on a city bus marking a new phase of the Civil Rights Movement with the installation of two plaques at DART’s Rosa Parks Plaza in Downtown Dallas.
The plaza, located at 901 Elm St., opened in 2009 and is the only civil rights monument downtown.
“Rosa Parks’ action that day set about a beginning of more understanding,” said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson during the Monday morning ceremony. “To see that people of color have the same desires, same wishes, same interest in a good life as everyone else.”
On Dec. 1, 1955, a driver of a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus driver told the African Americans seated in the first row of seats behind the “White Only” section to give up their seats for White passengers when the reserved section was full. However, Parks, a 42-year-old seamstress, refused to get from her seat after a long day at work, and was arrested for breaking the law.
Parks’ non-violent action led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott that culminated one year later with a U. S. Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing access to public transportation.
“We cannot overstate the significance of her simple and brave act. Her decision to keep her seat reminds all of us to focus on the larger issues of equality, opportunity and hope for the future,” said DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas.
Students from the Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School and the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy performed at the event.
On Tuesday, DART reserved the front seat of more than 500 buses to commemorate the anniversary. A sign will remind all passengers of Parks’ decision to take a stand simply by taking a seat.