Cimarron Transit is joining National Free Ride Day on Friday, Dec. 1, to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of Rosa Parks’ civil rights stance. Cimarron Transit operates the City of Bartlesville’s public transportation system, CityRide.
On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks was asked to give up her seat by a white person on her ride home from work. At that time, segregation was written into law in Montgomery, Ala.
“It was a practice that when a bus became full, seats nearer the front were given to white passengers. When the bus became full and the seats in the designated ‘white’ section were taken, the driver ordered Parks to move to the back of the bus,” said Laura Corff, transit director for Cimarron Transit.
Parks refused to give up her seat and was subsequently arrested and fined.
“The chain of events triggered by her arrest changed the United States,” Corff said.
African Americans and sympathizers of other races organized and promoted a boycott of the city bus line that lasted 381 days, Corff said.
“Thousands joined the protest to demand equal rights for all people,” she said. “People walked to work, rode bikes or carpooled to stand up against the bus line and the discriminatory laws.”
In turn, the Montgomery bus boycott triggered a wave of protests that reverberated throughout the U.S. On Nov. 23, 1956, the Supreme Court ruled and declared segregated busing unconstitutional.
Parks is nationally recognized as “mother of modern day civil rights movement.”
“Celebrating her courage today reminds us all that ‘there are ways each of us can step up to work for change we believe in,’” said Corff. “We are promoting the theme that we all ride together, recognizing Parks efforts for the benefit of all people.”
To participate in the free ride day, citizens should contact the CityRide dispatcher by noon on Wednesday, Nov. 29, to schedule free rides. Free rides will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1 only. All rides will be scheduled on a first call basis, subject to availability.
Cimarron Public Transit System assures full compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and all related statutes. Title VI and related statues prohibiting discrimination in federally assisted programs require that no person in the U.S. shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Cimarron Transit also prohibits discrimination based on disability, in accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Cimarron Transit is a division of United Community Action Program, Inc. of Pawnee. For more information visit www.ucapinc.org.