Dec. 1, 2009, marks the 54th anniversary of the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, to make room for a white passenger. Many depictions of Parks show her as elderly, or frail, when in fact she was 42 years old and “tired of giving in.” Her subsequent arrest led to the beginning of the Montgomery bus boycott, during which African-Americans and some whites walked to work, school, church, and everywhere else they needed to go. City buses ran nearly empty for a total of 382 days before the Supreme Court’s ban of Jim Crow laws made segregation illegal in December 1956. Some of the greatest names in the civil rights movement such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were involved in the boycott.
The illustration pictured here is by Brian Pinkney for the 2008 work Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation, written in rhythmic text by Andrea Davis Pinkney and published by Greenwillow Books. Other recent works for children in the Dodd Research Center’s holdings include Nikki Giovanni’s Rosa, illustrated by Bryan Collier and published by Henry Holt in 2005, and The Bus Ride that Changed History: the Story of Rosa Parks, by Pamela Duncan Edwards, illustrated by Danny Shanahan and published by Houghton Mifflin in 2005.
For more information on the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection, see www.nclc.uconn.edu