Montgomery Commemorates Rosa Parks 50th Anniversary

Montgomery residents and civil rights figures held a prayer breakfast Thursday to remember Rosa Parks on the 50th anniversary of the day she made history by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man.

All buses in Montgomery paid tribute to Parks by leaving a seat empty with a display commemorating her act. Other bus systems around the country had similar displays. Parks died Oct. 24 at age 92 in Detroit, where she and her husband had moved in 1957.

Among the day's events in Montgomery was a planned march by children to the Capitol from the site about eight blocks away where Parks was arrested on Dec. 1, 1955.

The Montgomery Improvement Association, which hosted the prayer breakfast, was the group that organized and launched the boycott of city buses four days after Parks' arrest. The yearlong boycott, led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., became a key moment in the civil rights movement.

In New York, empty seats were marked with posters of her reading, "It All Started on a Bus," and bus drivers were keeping headlights on all day.

In Philadelphia, middle school students planned to write comments about Parks on posters on the outside of a bus that would be put into regular service.

Bus tributes were also set up in Boston; Cleveland; Newark, N.J.; and Washington, D.C.

In Detroit, a federal building on Detroit's east side was being renamed for Parks in an afternoon ceremony. The resolution renaming the building was signed into law by President Bush on Nov. 11.