Community activists stress importance of sharing bus boycott his - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Community activists stress importance of sharing bus boycott history

Activists say younger generations have not had the same experiences, so it is important to pass down stories of the struggle. (Photo source: WLOX News) Activists say younger generations have not had the same experiences, so it is important to pass down stories of the struggle. (Photo source: WLOX News)
In an act of civil disobedience, Parks refused to give up her bus seat. (Photo source: WLOX News) In an act of civil disobedience, Parks refused to give up her bus seat. (Photo source: WLOX News)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

In South Mississippi, some community activists say as they recognize Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the many others who participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott 60 years ago, they can't overlook the importance of passing on stories of the struggle for Civil Rights from one generation to another.

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks went to jail for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated public bus in Montgomery, Ala.

"She was showing an act of civil disobedience," said Biloxi NAACP President James Crowell. "She sat up in an area that she was not allowed to which began the actual Civil Rights movement. "

Outrage of Park's arrest led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott with people willing to protest injustice despite having to make huge personal sacrifices. 

"A lot of them actually walked back and forth. Some had local transportation like, taxi cabs to take them back and forth," Crowell said. "But to do that for so long; because normally you start something and maybe for a week or two it's kind of strong, and after that people kind of die off. But, they held onto this for over a year which economically impacted that city and for that reason those changes were made."

Allytra Perryman works for the Mississippi Center for Justice as a community organizer, and is a member of the East Biloxi Collaborative. Part of the collaborative's mission includes education, which means visits to classrooms. 

"We talked about Rosa Parks," said Perryman. "We explained why Rosa Parks could not sit on the bus because little children, they understand that concept. We explained why it was so significant that she didn't get up. Those impressions make a life long impression on children, and hopefully they'll grow up to be our next activists."  

Crowell added, "A lot of our young people have not experienced segregation. To have to drink from a separate water fountain, having to sit in the back of a bus, Or even had to sit in the back of a movie theater because of your skin color. So it's important that we remind them we didn't get here because we are loved by other people. We got here because people demanded their rights." 

Activists say it is because of the generations that came before them that they feel moved to try to right what they see as wrong. 

"You have to understand where you come from to have an appreciation of your current position in life," said Perryman. "I think it's important that our young people understand the sacrifices that were made not so long ago by their ancestors to make things as nice as they are now, and to have a good appreciation for what you have."

The boycott remains one of the longest movements in our country's history lasting 382 days. 

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