Rosa’s Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights

Have you ever wondered about the bus *Ms. Rosa Parks was riding on December 1, 1955 when she refused to give up her sit to a white male passenger? Well, Jo S. Kittinger did. This is the story of bus #2857, a rather ordinary bus assembled in 1948 at General Motors in Michigan. Bus #2857 transported the citizens of Indiana before moving south to Alabama around the same time the decision for Brown vs. Board of Education was read. As you know, the Brown vs. Board of Education decision did not bring down the sign marked “Colored” affixed to the seats in the back of the bus. So when Ms. Parks refused to give up her seat, the police was called, she was arrested, and the Montgomery Boycott was on!

**But what happened to bus #2857? While it remained virtually empty during the boycott, it was eventually replaced and abandoned, that is until the Henry Ford Museum came a calling.

Um, seems like Ms. Kittinger has presented an interesting way to invite students to ***write about history. Is there a story behind Ben Franklin’s bifocals that will allow students to write about a pivotal moment in the 1700s? Can a shawl be the conduit for writing about Sojourner Truth’s contributions? What about using a pistol as a device when writing about Harriet Tubman’s work? I don’t know, but I bet someone does. Is it you?

*An author’s note mentions a few others who refused to give up their seats, including Thomas Edward Brooks and Claudette Colvin. The list of sources and suggested readings will be helpful to those who wish to learn more.

**I realize some might read this book and question the focus on a bus (instead of other more pressing matters and people in the movement). I’d love to hear your thoughts.

***The author folds the discussion of how the boycott was formed and its impact into the story of the bus.

Disclosure: The publisher sent this book to me. Since I liked it, I wanted to share it with you.