Police Report on Arrest of Rosa Parks
On December 1, 1955, during a typical evening rush hour in Montgomery, Alabama, a 42 year-old woman took a seat near the front of the bus on her way home from the Montgomery Fair department store where she worked as a seamstress. Refusing to yield her seat to a white passenger when instructed by the bus driver, police were called and she was arrested.
The police report shows that Rosa Parks was charged with “refusing to obey orders of bus driver.” According to the report, she was taken to the police station, where she was booked, fingerprinted, and briefly incarcerated.
The event touched off a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus system in which a 26-year-old unknown minister, Martin Luther King, Jr., emerged as the leader.
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Spinners and doffers in Lancaster Cotton Mills. Dozens of them in this mill. Lancaster, S.C., 12/01/1908
Lewis Wickes Hine, photographer. From the series: National Child Labor Committee Photographs taken by Lewis Hine
The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation…In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free–honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth.
On December 1, 1862, three months after issuing the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln delivered his State of the Union address to Congress in writing, as was the custom in the nineteenth century. The Union lay in shambles; slavery had been abolished in Washington, DC, and in the territories of the United States. Lincoln reflected on saving the union, ending slavery, and how the two were connected, thus preserving the United States “the last best, hope of earth.”
The Emancipation Proclamation would go into effect on the first day of the new year, January 1, 1863, a declaration of freedom for slaves in rebellious areas not yet under Union control.
This document will be featured in The Meaning and Making of Emancipation, a forthcoming ebook compiled by the National Archives as part of the 150th anniversary celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation. (The ebook will be available for multiple devices. Look for information here and on the National Archives web site.)
Along with the ebook, the National Archives will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation with a special display of the original document at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, from Sunday, December 30, to Tuesday, January 1.
Message from President Abraham Lincoln to Congress, December 1, 1862; (SEN 37A-F1), Box 43; Records of the U.S. Senate, Record Group 46; National Archives Building, Washington, DC.