MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An exhibit of photographs, a special collection of artifacts and an interactive virtual field trip for school children are among the events scheduled at Troy University's Rosa Parks Museum in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Dec. 1 will mark the 60th anniversary of Parks' 1955 arrest after she refused to surrender her seat on a Montgomery city bus to a white male. Her stance and subsequent arrest sparked the 382-day boycott of Montgomery buses by African Americans. Today, the Rosa Parks Museum on Troy University's Montgomery Campus stands at the intersection of Montgomery and Lee streets where Mrs. Parks was arrested.
"The Rosa Parks Museum is excited to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott," said Dr. Felicia Bell, the Museum's director. "In the segregated South on December 1, 1955, Mrs. Rosa Parks made history by refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a Montgomery city bus. This simple act of civil disobedience set the stage for meaningful and lasting change in the city of Montgomery and throughout the United States."
Activities commemorating the anniversary will kick off on Nov. 23, when the exhibit, "The Montgomery Bus Boycott: A Reflection of 60 Years," will open in the Rosa Parks Museum gallery. The exhibit, which will be on display through Feb. 29, explores through photographs how the bus boycott was reported in local newspapers, how the black community worked together to make the boycott successful and the challenges of obtaining civil rights and equality today. The exhibit hall is free and open to the public during normal operating hours, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
In addition to the photo exhibit, a special collection featuring rare artifacts related to the Montgomery Bus Boycott will be exhibited from Nov. 30 through Dec. 4, during normal operating hours inside the Museum's gallery. Among the items included in the special collection is the original fingerprint record of Rosa Parks, a fare machine from a 1955 bus and a Jim Crow-era waiting room sign. Viewing of the collection is free and open to the public.
On Dec. 1, Alabama Public Television will conduct a live, web-interactive field trip in the Museum's auditorium. The event is by invitation and is not open to the public. Students will send questions via web chat/text/Tweet to a panel of experts about citizenship, social justice, and historical events. The students' questions will appear on a screen and the panelists will respond. An audience of 7th grade students from Montgomery Public Schools will also participate by questioning the panelists.
Also on Dec. 1, the C-SPAN Bus will be parked near the Rosa Parks Museum from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will offer visitors inactive educational and informational activities such as quizzes on the political process and key figures in American history. In addition, the City of Montgomery will provide a 1955 city bus, which will be parked in the intersection of Montgomery and Lee Streets. Rosa Parks Museum volunteers will give brief free tours about what occurred on the bus the day Mrs. Parks was arrested. Tours will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 1. Admission to Museum will also be free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day.
Leading up to the anniversary of Mrs. Parks' arrest, sculptor Erik Blome will restore his statue of Mrs. Parks on the bus bench, currently on display in the Museum's gallery. The sculpture will then be relocated to a more prominent location in the Museum's atrium.
"Since the Rosa Parks Museum opened in 2000, the Erik Blome sculpture of Mrs. Parks has been a very popular tourist attraction," Bell said. "Visitors interaction with the work of art over the years has led to its discoloration and deterioration. Mr. Blome will be visiting the museum from Chicago, Ill. to restore the sculpture to its original bronze luster."