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Rosa Park's bus
Posted By: reh321, 08-07-2018, 08:00 AM

The Henry Ford Museum says this is the bus on which Rosa Parks refused to take a seat at the back - one of the sparks that lit the Civil Rights Movement here in the US

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Last edited by reh321; 08-07-2018 at 07:49 PM. Reason: wrong type
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08-08-2018, 01:12 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Well before that trooper, who was obviously a good man came up with the solution, my mother refused to sit apart from me (I was 8 years old). The trooper said a few times "I don't believe in this law, but I'm paid to enforce it." There were threats of jail, and sending me off to the black Children"s Aid, and her to jail. I've always been grateful for that trooper. Without his patience it could have been a lot worse. And there were many troopers with whom it would have been a lot worse. I still count it the as one of my lucky days.
Thank you for sharing this story Norm.

08-08-2018, 04:38 PM   #17
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And thank you to everyone for maturely handling this topic.

I have to admit that I wrote, and rewrote, and rewrote post #14, because I was afraid of what ghosts I might awaken, afraid this thread would deserve to be CLOSED .... but we handled it.

Thank you all again.
08-08-2018, 06:20 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
And thank you to everyone for maturely handling this topic.

I have to admit that I wrote, and rewrote, and rewrote post #14, because I was afraid of what ghosts I might awaken, afraid this thread would deserve to be CLOSED .... but we handled it.

Thank you all again.
Lovely shot of the bus. Somewhere, I've seen a photo of Barack Obama sitting in Rosa Parks' seat on that bus.

I'm still pondering this part of Norm's post:

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
we were the only two on an otherwise empty bus
08-09-2018, 05:49 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
Lovely shot of the bus.
Thank you. The museum is a good place to photograph. As you can see by looking at the top part of the photograph, they provide good, fairly even lighting, and their warm wooden floors enhance any photograph taken there. I had purchased my Sigma 10-20mm {used at 15mm for this photograph} exactly for situations like this

08-09-2018, 06:54 AM - 1 Like   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
Lovely shot of the bus. Somewhere, I've seen a photo of Barack Obama sitting in Rosa Parks' seat on that bus.

I'm still pondering this part of Norm's post:
It was surreal. Two people sitting either side of a line down the middle of the bus. It was an overnight run, so when I woke up to change busses in Cincinnati there were 5 or 6 other people on the bus, I Must have slept through those stops., We changed to a "northern bus" that didn't have the colour line and where we could sit in any empty seat. That would have been 1956.

There was a line designating black and white sections of the bus. But if a white person didn't have a seat, blacks were expected to give up their seats. The black section was always the back of the bus.

One of the popular songs from the civil rights movement...
"If you miss me at the back of the bus, you can't find me no where, come on over to the front of the bus, I'll be riding up there."


Those folks are singing about that bus in the picture and others like it.

Last edited by normhead; 08-09-2018 at 07:17 AM.
08-09-2018, 07:23 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
But if a white person didn't have a seat, blacks were expected to give up their seats. The black section was always the back of the bus.
I believe that was the issue with Ms.Parks - the white section had filled up and they wanted her to move back to make room for more.
08-09-2018, 07:39 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
I believe that was the issue with Ms.Parks - the white section had filled up and they wanted her to move back to make room for more.
Except that, the bus was full, so she was being asked to give up her seat and stand. I'm not sure the whole thing would have happened if there had been another seat further back. She was an accidental hero. The act was spontaneous not planned. She was not at that point, part of civil right organization causing unrest. Just a woman tired after a day of cleaning other people's houses who needed to sit a bit before moving on. You're getting revisionoist on me here.

I'm kind of amazed that point wasn't made at the museum. If you don't know Rosa, her story, or the movement, you might want to read her book.

Last edited by normhead; 08-09-2018 at 07:48 AM.
08-09-2018, 08:28 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Except that, the bus was full, so she was being asked to give up her seat and stand. I'm not sure the whole thing would have happened if there had been another seat further back. She was an accidental hero. The act was spontaneous not planned. She was not at that point, part of civil right organization causing unrest. Just a woman tired after a day of cleaning other people's houses who needed to sit a bit before moving on. You're getting revisionoist on me here.

I'm kind of amazed that point wasn't made at the museum. If you don't know Rosa, her story, or the movement, you might want to read her book.
I'm sure they told the whole story - I didn't memorize everything I read. I apologize for flubbing the story.

08-09-2018, 11:27 AM - 1 Like   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
I'm sure they told the whole story - I didn't memorize everything I read. I apologize for flubbing the story.
The distinction is important. Many times sinceI I have seen activists trying to manufacture a "Rosa Parks" incident. But they don't seem to understand, she wasn't an activist, if she had been she would have been labelled a trouble maker. She wasn't an outsider, if she was she could have been labelled and outside agitator. She wasn't a member of a Civil Rights organization, or she would have been accused of deliberately provoking authorities.

IN fact it could be argued, if you don't have a Rosa Parks incident, maybe you don't really have a cause.

Quite simply her story came down to a working woman who ws treated unfairly, that even many of the proponents of segregation would admit was treated unfairly. Coupled with the common practice of nice men giving up their seats for women, it was an educational home run. And what many of the activists groups I've dealt with since, don't seem to understand the power of that. And to me, that's a very important part of the story.

There were many working men and women who could read Rosa's story and think "I wouldn't have given that piece of work my seat either," or "I would have given her my seat, forget about ask for hers."

That to me is the important history lesson that was learned on that bus. And every activist out there trying to manufacture a cause should understand it.
08-09-2018, 01:33 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
It was surreal. Two people sitting either side of a line down the middle of the bus. It was an overnight run, so when I woke up to change busses in Cincinnati there were 5 or 6 other people on the bus, I Must have slept through those stops., We changed to a "northern bus" that didn't have the colour line and where we could sit in any empty seat. That would have been 1956.

There was a line designating black and white sections of the bus. But if a white person didn't have a seat, blacks were expected to give up their seats. The black section was always the back of the bus.

One of the popular songs from the civil rights movement...
"If you miss me at the back of the bus, you can't find me no where, come on over to the front of the bus, I'll be riding up there."

If You Miss Me From the Back of the Bus - YouTube

Those folks are singing about that bus in the picture and others like it.
Thank you for sharing Norm.

We had the same sort of thing when I was a kid. Line on the floor and painted on the overhead bulkhead in the bus. Whites in front, blacks at the back. Double decker busses were whites on the bottom level, black on top.
Of course, as a kid, we kids wanted to sit on the top floor for the better view. The odd bus driver would try to force us back down to the lower level but most left us alone. In later years, most everyone ignored the line and sat where they wanted. It was one of the many "rules" of the system that was openly ignored.

I remember, as a child, (and when I was still forced to attend church) a black man walked into the church just a few minutes after the service had started. He sat down in a pew quite near the front, but on the one side. One of the (white) deacons marched over and attempted to get him to leave. The man said he was staying where he was. Soon, he was joined by another deacon and by the body language, there was clearly going to be a confrontation. But, it being a church, the deacons did not know what to do without causing a scene. There was much muttering and tugging going on. Most people in the church pretended not to see or hear what was going on. It was beautifully settled when the minister, from the pulpit, who had, up to this moment calmly went on with his sermon, stopped and told the deacons to leave the man alone and go back to their seats. It was quite gratifying seeing two men so nicely told off. If I was older, I would have given the minister a standing ovation.
08-09-2018, 07:17 PM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
The distinction is important. Many times sinceI I have seen activists trying to manufacture a "Rosa Parks" incident. But they don't seem to understand, she wasn't an activist, if she had been she would have been labelled a trouble maker. She wasn't an outsider, if she was she could have been labelled and outside agitator. She wasn't a member of a Civil Rights organization, or she would have been accused of deliberately provoking authorities.

IN fact it could be argued, if you don't have a Rosa Parks incident, maybe you don't really have a cause.

Quite simply her story came down to a working woman who ws treated unfairly, that even many of the proponents of segregation would admit was treated unfairly. Coupled with the common practice of nice men giving up their seats for women, it was an educational home run. And what many of the activists groups I've dealt with since, don't seem to understand the power of that. And to me, that's a very important part of the story.

There were many working men and women who could read Rosa's story and think "I wouldn't have given that piece of work my seat either," or "I would have given her my seat, forget about ask for hers."

That to me is the important history lesson that was learned on that bus. And every activist out there trying to manufacture a cause should understand it.
QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
Thank you for sharing Norm.

We had the same sort of thing when I was a kid. Line on the floor and painted on the overhead bulkhead in the bus. Whites in front, blacks at the back. Double decker busses were whites on the bottom level, black on top.
Of course, as a kid, we kids wanted to sit on the top floor for the better view. The odd bus driver would try to force us back down to the lower level but most left us alone. In later years, most everyone ignored the line and sat where they wanted. It was one of the many "rules" of the system that was openly ignored.

I remember, as a child, (and when I was still forced to attend church) a black man walked into the church just a few minutes after the service had started. He sat down in a pew quite near the front, but on the one side. One of the (white) deacons marched over and attempted to get him to leave. The man said he was staying where he was. Soon, he was joined by another deacon and by the body language, there was clearly going to be a confrontation. But, it being a church, the deacons did not know what to do without causing a scene. There was much muttering and tugging going on. Most people in the church pretended not to see or hear what was going on. It was beautifully settled when the minister, from the pulpit, who had, up to this moment calmly went on with his sermon, stopped and told the deacons to leave the man alone and go back to their seats. It was quite gratifying seeing two men so nicely told off. If I was older, I would have given the minister a standing ovation.
Thanks to both of you for these additional explanations.
08-09-2018, 10:04 PM   #27
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This story and the intimate details touched me deeply. It helped me reflect on two women that I have always felt were part of my family. Thinking about them now is bittersweet, the loss is keen, but there are many good memories. One died surrounded by her family and lived a full life. The other was cut down by cancer and her worthless family squabbled over her meager things even at the end. Both were part time black "maids" to my parents' families. They were hard working, loving, and kind despite the world not treating them the way it should, and I dearly miss them.
08-10-2018, 07:29 AM   #28
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Nice capture of a well-kept piece of history.

---------- Post added 08-10-18 at 10:03 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I had my own civl rights episode on a similar bus in Chattanooga Tenessee.
Thanks for sharing your first-hand account, normhead.
08-18-2018, 10:20 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
My father and Rosa parks, knew each other on first name basis towards the end of their lives. I probably still have the book she signed for him signed around here somewhere. I had my own civl rights episode on a similar bus in Chattanooga Tenessee. Travelling with my white mother we were informed we'd have to sit in different parts of the bus, A Tenessee state trooper thoughtfully worked out a compromise. She sat in the last seat of the while section, I sat in the front seat of the black section, we were the only two on an otherwise empty bus. Thanks for posting.
Great story. Thanks for sharing!


edit: This whole thread is pretty awesome and historical. Thanks for the stories.

Last edited by blues_hawk; 08-18-2018 at 10:27 AM.
08-18-2018, 02:22 PM - 1 Like   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by blues_hawk Quote
Great story. Thanks for sharing!


edit: This whole thread is pretty awesome and historical. Thanks for the stories.
Thank you for sharing your appreciation.
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