I have been refused entrance on the buses because I would not pay my fare at the front and go around to the rear door to enter. That was the custom if the bus was crowded up to the point where the white passengers would start occupying.
All I was doing was trying to get home from work.
You spend your whole lifetime in your occupation, actually making life clever, easy and convenient for white people. But when you have to get transportation home, you are denied an equal accommodation. Our existence was for the white man's comfort and well-being; we had to accept being deprived of just being human.
I was born 50 years after slavery, in 1913. I was allowed to read. My mother, who was a teacher, taught me when I was a very young child. The first school I attended was a small building that went from first to sixth grade. There was one teacher for all of the students. There could be anywhere from 50 to 60 students of all different ages.
God has always given me the strength to say what is right.
Whites would accuse you of causing trouble when all you were doing was acting like a normal human being instead of cringing.
I don't think well of people who are prejudiced against people because of race. The only way for prejudiced people to change is for them to decide for themselves that all human beings should be treated fairly. We can't force them to think that way.
In it not easy to remain rational and normal mentally in such a setting where, even in our airport in Montgomery, there is a white waiting room... There are restroom facilities for white ladies and colored women, white men and colored men. We stand outside after being served at the same ticket counter instead of sitting on the inside.
As far back as I can remember, I knew there was something wrong with our way of life when people could be mistreated because of the color of their skin.
There is just so much hurt, disappointment, and oppression one can take... The line between reason and madness grows thinner.
I had felt for a long time that, if I was ever told to get up so a white person could sit, that I would refuse to do so.
I have never been what you would call just an integrationist. I know I've been called that... Integrating that bus wouldn't mean more equality. Even when there was segregation, there was plenty of integration in the South, but it was for the benefit and convenience of the white person, not us.
Time begins the healing process of wounds cut deeply by oppression. We soothe ourselves with the salve of attempted indifference, accepting the false pattern set up by the horrible restriction of Jim Crow laws.
Let us look at Jim Crow for the criminal he is and what he has done to one life multiplied millions of times over these United States and the world. He walks us on a tightrope from birth.
The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute accepts people of any race. We don't discriminate against anyone. We teach people to reach their highest potential. I set examples by the way I lead my life.
I talked and talked of everything I know about the white man's inhuman treatment of the Negro.
If I can sit down for freedom, you can stand up for children.
I want to be treated like a human being.
When people made up their minds that they wanted to be free and took action, then there was a change.
I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.
When that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night.
I thought of Emmett Till, and when the bus driver ordered me to move to the back, I just couldn't move.
I thought about Emmett Till, and I could not go back. My legs and feet were not hurting, that is a stereotype. I paid the same fare as others, and I felt violated. I was not going back.
I will no longer act on the outside in a way that contradicts the truth that I hold deeply inside. I will no longer act as if I were less than the whole person I know myself inwardly to be.
Have you ever been hurt and the place tries to heal a bit, and you just pull the scar off of it over and over again.
Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.
I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free... so other people would be also free.
One person can change the world.
There is work to do; that is why I cannot stop or sit still. As long as a child needs help, as long as people are not free, there will be work to do. As long as an elderly person is attacked or in need of support, there is work to do. As long as we have bigotry and crime, we have work to do.
Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground.
My only concern was to get home after a hard day's work.
I believe there is only one race - the human race.
Many whites, even white Southerners told me that even though it may have seemed like the blacks were being freed (by my actions) they felt more free and at ease themselves. They thought that my action didn't just free blacks but them, too.
I am leaving this legacy to all of you...to bring peace, justice, equality, love and a fulfillment of what our lives should be. Without vision, the people will perish, and without courage and inspiration, dreams will die - the dream of freedom and peace.
Nothing in the Golden Rule says that others will treat us as we have treated them. It only says that we must treat others in a way that we would want to be treated.
To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try.
you must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.
As long as there is unemployment, war, crime and all things that go to the infliction of man's inhumanity to man, regardless - there is much to be done, and people need to work together.
I will always work for human rights for all people.
At the time I was arrested I had no idea it would turn into this. It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in.