Wednesday, May 04, 2016 9:58 PM
On December 1,1955, Montgomery policemen arrested Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. A magistrate fined her; thus began the Montgomery bus boycott which lasted three hundred eighty one days. The boycott ended with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decree that Montgomery’s segregation laws were unconstitutional. On that very day, Ms. Parks rode at the front of the bus. During the boycott black citizens held meetings in churches because they were thought to be safer. Also the city ruled was that no more than three blacks could congregate in public. Most were ordinary men, women, and children who had courage. Martin Luther King, Pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, offered its use for mass meetings. Whites, who opposed the boycott often heckled, antagonized, and threatened black citizens as they continue walking to work. As the fight for civil rights continued, Morris Dees founded the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The SPLC museum traces the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 until 1968. It presents the quest for Civil Rights chronologically through exhibits and short films used to educate visitors about the sacrifices that were made by these ordinary people. The center also traces all hate crimes committed against individuals and groups. The memorial is a black granite wall with an inscription by Dr. King, with water streaming down onto a flat granite table with the names of people who lost their lives in the struggle for freedom. There is also a spot where visitors can take the pledge to be tolerant of others and continue the journey for justice and freedom. This is called the Wall of Tolerance. I took the pledge and signed the wall and it is my hope that one day, everyone will be tolerated regardless of their skin color, beliefs, or gender. We were all created equal and until we are treated that way, the struggle is far from over.