Last Tuesday marked the 60th anniversary of Rosa Parks' defiant act on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1955, a time when segregation was rife in the USA, she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger and was arrested for doing so. Her act become a symbol for the wider civil rights movement and led to a boycott of the public transport system, headed up by Martin Luther King, Jr.
More than a year later, on December 19th 1956, the US Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation was illegal and the boycott came to an end. The day before this decision was made, King published a list of guidelines for those preparing to re-board public transport - guidelines which have now been brought to light by Shaun Usher at Lists of Note, the sister website to Letters of Note.
The advice contained in the letter, which can be read in full here, is indicative of King's status as a Christian minister. It is not triumphalist in tone or gloating over the victory; rather it seeks to find opportunities for compassion wherever it can, reaching out to the white community and resisting the urge to tar every individual therein with the same brush. If you enjoyed Selma, which I will eventually get round to reviewing, this document will prove to be extremely edifying.