ROSA PARKS:I'm going to tell you something about my life. My name is Rosa Parks. I was born in the year 1913, in the United States of America.
ROSA PARKS:What happened to me, the story I'm going to tell, well, it was such a surprise to me, really, but...
ROSA PARKS:Well, you'll see what I mean.
ROSA PARKS:'I grew up on a farm in Montgomery, Alabama. I had to help out around the farm, and every morning I picked up eggs laid by the chickens we kept, that ran around our front yard.
ROSA PARKS:'My grandfather, he lived with us too. And he liked to spend his afternoons sitting on the porch, snoozing in the sun or telling me stories.
ROSA PARKS:'Everything seemed just right with the world. It was a simple life, and I was happy.
ROSA PARKS:'I was just seven when I began to notice things. Things that made me think that maybe the world wasn't quite right after all.
ROSA PARKS:'My grandfather would take me into town with him. And what I started to see was that the fact that our skin was black and not white, made a difference.
ROSA PARKS:'I started to see that black people were kept apart from white people in all sorts of ways.
ROSA PARKS:'At the town hall, black, or coloured people, as we were called, and white people had separate entrances.
ROSA PARKS:'In the waiting room, we had to sit in separate seats.
ROSA PARKS:'Even when the black people seats were full, we weren't allowed to sit in the white section.
ROSA PARKS:'At the bus stop, we had to stand in line, while the white people got to sit on a bench.
ROSA PARKS:'I found it all so confusing.
ROSA PARKS:'I really didn't understand what possible difference the colour of your skin could make.
ROSA PARKS:'Everyone wore hats, went to work, ate lunch. I don't know, to me it seemed we were all the same.
ROSA PARKS:'But everyone acted like there was a difference. Like it was just the way things were.
ROSA PARKS:'We had to drink from a separate water fountain, go to a different church, use a different public toilet.
ROSA PARKS:'I grew up.
ROSA PARKS:'Still I didn't understand why the world was unjust to black people. But the government made the rules, so it seemed there was nothing we could do.
ROSA PARKS:'Like everyone else, I went along with it. I followed the rules. I used the black people's entrance, drank from the black people's water fountain,
ROSA PARKS:'went to the black people's church.
ROSA PARKS:'I got a job working in a department store. Every day, I waited for the bus, to go to work.
ROSA PARKS:'When I boarded the bus, I would sit like we always had to, at the back end of the bus. While the white people had a reserved section at the very front.
ROSA PARKS:'If the white seats were full, we had to give up our seat when a white person got on, even if that meant standing up all the way.
ROSA PARKS:'It wasn't fair. But those were the rules, and like most people, I just did what I was told and didn't make a fuss.'
ROSA PARKS:It was December 1st, 1955.
ROSA PARKS:I don't know why it happened on this day, it was a day like any other.
ROSA PARKS:It had been a long day at work and I was eager to get home, take off my shoes and rub my feet. It was a day like any other.
ROSA PARKS:I didn't know, when I boarded the bus that afternoon, that I was going to do what I did.
ROSA PARKS:'I took my seat in the row behind the white people seats. The white rows were full, when another white lady boarded the bus.
ROSA PARKS:'I stayed put.
ROSA PARKS:'I felt myself rooted to the spot just like a tree.
ROSA PARKS:'Somehow, in that moment, I'd made up my mind.
ROSA PARKS:'The white people in front of me tutted and shook their heads.
ROSA PARKS:'I felt the black people behind me sit up a little straighter, keen to see what would happen next.
ROSA PARKS:'The bus driver left his seat.
ROSA PARKS:'But still, I didn't budge.
ROSA PARKS:'Somehow, I'd made up my mind.
ROSA PARKS:'The white people in front of me tutted and shook their heads, I felt the black people behind me lean forward to see who it was that had dared to disobey the rules.
ROSA PARKS:'The police came. But still, I didn't budge.
ROSA PARKS:'I'd never made a fuss before, I'd never broken any rule, let alone been arrested. But somehow, I'd made up my mind.'
ROSA PARKS:People said afterwards that I refused to give up my seat because I was tired.
ROSA PARKS:True, it had been a long day and my body ached.
ROSA PARKS:'But that's not why I refused to stand. No. The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.
ROSA PARKS:Tired of being treated differently, like a second-class citizen, on account of the colour of my skin.
ROSA PARKS:Everyone else I knew was tired of it too. It was just we didn't know what to do about it.
ROSA PARKS:My little act of defiance, my refusal to give in, it was a small thing to do.
ROSA PARKS:I just wanted, for once, to be able to sit where I sat, and to not have to give upmy seat to someone else just because she was white.
ROSA PARKS:It was a small thing to do.
ROSA PARKS:But it was what happened afterwards that really mattered.
ROSA PARKS:'Without knowing it, I'd started something.
ROSA PARKS:'That very evening, news of my tiny protest got around.
ROSA PARKS:'People got together and called anyone they could think of. They wanted everyone to know what I had done.
ROSA PARKS:'It was as if they had all been waiting for a chance to do something. And my simple refusal to stand up on a bus one afternoon had given them that chance.
ROSA PARKS:'Plans started to form for a bus boycott. The ideas was, that on the Monday when my case would go to court, all the black people in Montgomery should walk to work and refuse to take the bus.
ROSA PARKS:'That way, the bus company would lose money. And that way, people would see that I wasn't the only one who was tired of giving in. Tired of being treated badly.'
ROSA PARKS:Monday 5th of December was the day of my court case.
ROSA PARKS:I was found guilty of not following the rules and fined $14, which was a lot of money in those days to someone like me.
ROSA PARKS:But it didn't matter. What did matter was what was going on outside.
ROSA PARKS:'Most of Montgomery's 40,000 black workers, and some white people too, didn't take the bus to work or school.
ROSA PARKS:'Some walked, some shared cars, some rode bicycles. They wanted to show the world that they had all had enough. They marched through the street, and there was so many of them it was impossible to ignore.
ROSA PARKS:'The buses were almost empty.
ROSA PARKS:'The protest continued long after I'd paid my fine and gone back to my job.
ROSA PARKS:'All together, people stayed off the buses and walked to work for 381 days.
ROSA PARKS:'It became a powerful symbol that we were tired of giving in.'
ROSA PARKS:The newspapers wrote about the protest. People all over America could see what was going on.
ROSA PARKS:Eventually, the government had to do something.
ROSA PARKS:They made a new rule. Black people no longer had to sit in a separate section of the bus.
ROSA PARKS:We would never again have to give up our seats to someone just because they were white.
ROSA PARKS:Black people and white people were still kept separate in other ways, but it was a start.
ROSA PARKS:A step towards equality and justice.
ROSA PARKS:I was just an ordinary person, and I was amazed at what I'd started.
ROSA PARKS:I was so glad that on that day I made up my mind and I refused to budge.