NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Tuesday, public transportation across Tennessee will honor the legacy of civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
City buses in five cities, including Nashville’s WeGo Public Transit, will keep one seat open in honor of Parks on every bus.
The seat will feature a placard to recognize the contribution made by Parks in the fight for racial justice and equality, and how the small act of sitting down on a city bus changed the course of history in the United States.
Tuesday marks 65 years since Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama in what became one of the defining moments of the civil rights movement.
Rosa Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955 after refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. This act led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a 381-day boycott of the city’s transit system by African Americans which led to the Supreme Court ruling declaring segregation on public transportation systems unconstitutional.
Rosa Parks Day became a state holiday in 2019. The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Raumesh Akbari and Rep. Karen Camper.
“She took a stand, by sitting down, it was really important for us as Black women in Tennessee
where there are so many critical parts of the civil rights movement played in Memphis and in Nashville and even in East Tennessee, we really felt it was important to make this happen,” explained Sen. Akbari.
Participating transit systems include Memphis Area Transit Authority, Knoxville Area Transit, Clarksville Transit System and Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority.