The Rosa Parks Museum & Library

Montgomery Travel Blog

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Montgomery Bus Tour

The museum is located on the corner of Montgomery St. and Molton Ave., just across from Davis Theater for The Performing Arts. It is a three-story building with a sign you simply cannot miss. A statue of Rosa Parks stood in the middle of the lobby which led to the front desk. Unfortunately, we could not get a guided tour even though we had reserved for one before we arrived. However, the very nice receptionist helped us get started with the first diorama display. We went into a rectangular room which had three large screens on the wall amongst pictures of figures of the Civil Rights movement and newspaper clippings from back in the day. In this room we watched information about the condition in the segregated South at the time. The images showed the discriminatory public services such as drinking fountains for whites and black and the then-law of public buses in Montgomery.
The Bell, Montgomery
Then, there was an introduction of Rosa Parks. She was no ordinary woman. She was educated and hardworking. At the time she was the secretary of the NAACP and had tried to register to vote on several occasions, but failed.  

After about two minutes of introductory show, a door was opened to lead us to the next display. There in front of us stood an astonishing replica of a Montgomery bus. Its windows were replaced by extended screens showing actor-passengers portraying the passengers riding the infamous bus on Dec 1st, 1955. Just inches from the bus there was a street-sign pole which switched over each time the narrator emphasized the bus route. It was a reenactment of the day on which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger.

We were standing adjacent to the bus watching as though we were spectators of the very day the history was made. We watched how the passengers got onto the bus. Then came Rosa Parks, who seated herself beside a black passenger on the third row.  When the bus started to get full the black passengers had to give up their seats for the white passengers. We saw that some black passengers were already standing on the aisle because they had nowhere to sit. The bus driver rose from his seat and told Rosa Parks to give up her seat, but Parks replied no. Then the bus driver threatened to call the police and Parks said that he may do so. So he did. The scene changed as the rotary lights flashing on the background signaling that from a police car was approaching. Two police officers appeared on the scene and took Rosa Parks off the bus. Rosa Parks was taken to the police station and was detained in a jail cell.

The next display showed the aftermath of the incident. A door leading to a large room full of newspaper clippings, news cast from back in the day, the Montgomery bus boycott, and the unfolding events of Civil Rights movement in the South.

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The State Capital of Alabama

A bunch of curious minds and I went to visit Montgomery. This was when on October 24th both the American and Alabama state flags were put half-staff after the news broke about the death of Rosa Parks. Many of us were wondering why it was an important day. Who was Rosa Parks? What did she do to draw on so much attention on the subject of civil rights? That Saturday’s trip was a solution as much as it was a nice, refreshing ride on the back road of the countryside.

Fall colors simply touched the backdrop of the country and flowing creeks intervened the sight from time to time. Two vans full of excited passengers with their latest camcorders and/or digital cameras departed early in the morning, passed farm houses and junkyards, saw contrast between Tuscaloosa and rural areas, and made our way to Montgomery. The destination was to visit the Rosa Parks museum.

Montgomery trip was obviously too short for us. However, we were glad to have seen the place and walked the streets of Montgomery. Downtown attractions which we visited included Alabama State Capitol Building, Alabama State House, Old Alabama Town, the first white house of the Confederacy, Civil Rights Memorial, Court Square Fountain, and Montgomery Area Visitor Center.

We took the Montgomery tour bus, which to our surprise felt quite small and less spacious inside. There was a sign placed on the first three seats in front of the bus that read: “reserved for Rosa Parks.” The bus was obviously so old and creaky that the lady bus driver really had to work some muscle to steer the wheel. She also warned us not to open the bus windows because they might get stuck.

The bus was very noisy and we could hardly hear the information given by the bus driver a.k.a. tour leader. Despite the condition of the bus, we enjoyed the scenery and great architecture of Montgomery historic buildings.  
Montgomery Bus Tour
Montgomery Bus Tour
The Bell, Montgomery
The Bell, Montgomery
Montgomery
photo by: RJ82