RTD commemorates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Today marks Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 92nd birthday. As a public transportation agency, it’s worth noting that the event that brought Dr. King into the forefront of the non-violent civil rights movement started on a bus when a young woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat.
On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of moving to the back of the bus, which was designated for African Americans, she sat in the front. When the bus started to fill up with white passengers, the bus driver asked Parks to move. She refused. Her resistance set in motion one of the largest social movements in history, the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
The bus incident led to the formation of the Montgomery Improvement Association, led by the young pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The association called for a boycott of the city-owned bus company. The boycott lasted 381 days and brought Mrs. Parks, Dr. King, and their cause to the attention of the world. A Supreme Court decision struck down the Montgomery ordinance under which Mrs. Parks had been fined, and outlawed racial segregation on public transportation.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was approved as a federal holiday in 1983. Although the first federal holiday was celebrated in 1986, it took years for observance to filter through to every state. All 50 states made it a state government holiday by 2000. This holiday honors the life of one of the most prominent figures in the advancement of civil rights.
On Monday, Jan. 18, we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
In the spirit of the holiday, let’s take a moment to consider the historic value of Rosa Parks’ actions, Dr. King’s beliefs and the purpose of a movement that changed America. At RTD, we embrace the idea of respect for our fellow employees and our customers, offering a helping hand to others and service to our community.
Source: Academy of Achievement