Some 25 years after she captured the attention of the world by refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks visited NC State to talk about the civil rights movement.
And on this day in 1981, a crowd of about 200 people gave Parks a standing ovation as she came onstage at Stewart Theatre.
Parks told the crowd that while much progress had been made, the civil rights movement needed to continue. “It is up to you and all of us to do our part to make this the great nation it was intended to be,” she said, according to an account of the speech in the Technician.
Parks said her arrest led others to rise up against racial oppression. “Just as I was against being mistreated, pushed around and denied an equal opportunity as a passenger on the bus,” she said, “so were many other people in Montgomery provided an incentive to not be pushed around.”
The civil rights movement succeeded, Parks said, because it captured the attention of people around the world. But she said that the effort needed to continue. She said that while there had been progress in areas such as public transportation and accommodations, racial segregation was still a problem in employment.
“Many are still unemployed in all parts of the country,” she said. “So we still have much to do.”