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Huntsville Transit offering free rides in observance of Rosa Parks Day

HUNTSVILLE – Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in the Alabama state capitol on the first day of December in 1955 and became a globally recognized icon from the Civil Rights Movement.

Because she did, and to honor the time she stood, or literally sat, against a racist law residents will receive free rides Friday from Huntsville Transit.

This is the sixth year the city is celebrating Rosa Parks Day, which is celebrated by Alabama statewide. Ohio also observes the day on Dec. 1, but only locally. California and Missouri (local observance) and New York (statewide) celebrate on Feb. 4.

“In honoring the impact of Rosa Parks, whose courageous act sparked a pivotal moment in history, Huntsville Transit is committed to promoting inclusivity and accessibility in our community,” said Quisha Bryant, director of Huntsville’s Parking and Public Transportation Department. “It’s a pleasure to not only honor her courageous act, but also provide an opportunity for people to try Transit for free and see what we’re about.”

This is not a public holiday. Government and public offices, businesses, and schools are not closed for the observance.

Mayor Tommy Battle and representatives from the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Huntsville Transit will address the media at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Huntsville Transit Transfer Station located on Church Street to further recognize the moment.

In addition to Friday’s free rides, a seat at the front of each fixed-route bus features a black cover and pink sash bearing Parks’ name.

This year marks the 68th anniversary of the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and move to what at the time was called the “colored” section of a Montgomery bus. Her act of peaceful defiance resulted in her arrest and led to the Montgomery bus boycott, a seminal event in the Civil Rights Movement.

According to www.timeanddate.com, the boycott lasted for 381 days, into December 1956, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the segregation law was unconstitutional and the Montgomery buses should be integrated. This boycott kick-started other civil rights protests throughout the U.S. Over the years, the Rosa Parks bus has become a symbol of the fight for equal rights. It has been fully restored and is now displayed in the Henry Ford Museum. Rosa Parks’ Day, on February 4, is also known as the Day of Courage.

For more information and for Huntsville Transit routes, visit www.huntsvilleal.gov.

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