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Milwaukee Buses Remember Rosa Parks

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Rosa Parks Bus MilwaukeeWhen you think of buses that make history, the one Rosa Parks rode in Montgomery, Alabama, probably comes to mind. Parks was arrested on Dec. 1, 1955, when she refused to follow Jim Crow laws and give up her seat to a white man on a full bus. The Milwaukee County Transit System is paying tribute on its whole fleet of buses this weekend.

Milwaukee is quite far away from the Deep South, but the MCTS has made a tradition of honoring the civil rights icon every year on the anniversary of her arrest, starting last year. In a commemoration appropriate for the woman everyone tried to force to stand up on a crowded bus, MCTS places a sign and a red rose on a seat of every one of its buses. The signs state that the seat is reserved for Ms. Parks, with one of her quotes: “My only concern was to get home after a hard day’s work.”

“Now, more than ever, Rosa Parks’ courage and beliefs should inspire us every day. This country was changed for the better on that December day when she refused to give into racism and oppression,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “While we can never truly thank her for her brave actions, we mark the occasion to remember and honor her bravery and convictions.”

While the Civil Rights Movement wasn’t that long ago in the grand scheme of things, recent events suggest that its brutality and hardships might be fading from national memory. This is a small-yet-beautiful way to honor a woman, in the words of MCTS, “…whose quiet strength made a seat available for everyone.”