(Harrisburg)—Capital Area Transit (CAT) notes February 2016 as Black History Month by celebrating the courage and conviction of one woman who changed segregation in public transportation in the United States, Bill Jones, CAT general manager, said today.
“It is appropriate that we remember Ms. Rosa Parks during African American History Month, her quiet dignity, courage, and conviction,” Jones said.
“When faced with racism and segregation in a public transit system, she calmly refused to move to the segregated rear of a Montgomery, Alabama, public transit vehicle.” At the time 75% of the riders on the Montgomery bus system were African American.
The result of her courage was the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott, a local civil rights event with national ramifications, which led to the removal of a Montgomery segregation code and a decade later influenced Title VI of the 1966 Civil Rights Act guaranteeing equal access to public transit nationally.
“I had given up my seat before, but this day, I was especially tired. Tired from my work as a seamstress, and tired from the ache in my heart.” –Rosa Parks
In December 1955, Rosa Parks (1913-2005), a seamstress employed in a department store in downtown Montgomery, Alabama refused to obey a bus driver’s order to give up her seat in the “colored section” of a bus after the white section had filled with evening passengers. “I had given up my seat before, but this day, I was especially tired. Tired from my work as a seamstress, and tired from the ache in my heart,” she said later.
Parks was arrested, charged with disturbing the peace and violation of a local segregation code. Found guilty, she paid a fine of $14 and received death threats for years thereafter. Rosa Parks dedicated the rest of her life to Civil Rights causes in America. “We remember Ms. Parks this month,” Jones said.
Capital Area Transit was incorporated in 1973 when Cumberland County and Dauphin County Commissioners and the City of Harrisburg organized CAT to provide mass transit Fixed-Route and Paratransit shared-ride services, which today conveniently and safely transport about 2.5 million riders a year in the thousand square mile capital region. Visit www.cattransit.com, follow CAT on Facebook or Twitter at @CATTransit, or call CAT’s Public Information Office at 717-238-8304 for more information. “Where CAT Goes, Community Grows.”