When Rosa McCauley Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white rider in Montgomery, Ala., 35 years ago, she had no idea she would set off the civil rights movement in the United States.
``At the time I was arrested, I had no thoughts of how the community would react, or what would be done,' Parks said Friday. ``I could not accept that kind of treatment, and I did not want the authorities to feel or to think I was less than a human being.``I felt it was the only thing I could do.'
Parks visited the Triangle this weekend at the invitation of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Wendell and the Rosa Parks Celebration Committee. The Detroit resident flew to Raleigh-Durham International Airport Friday afternoon and was taken to Shaw University for a news conference.
Parks said the civil rights movement is far from dead.
``It is not on the same plane or the same level, but we still have people who are concerned and committed to full freedom,' she said.
Parks said there is evidence that today's young people are concerned about freedom, equality and educational opportunities.
After Parks was arrested on the bus in Montgomery, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., then a local minister, led the black people of Montgomery in a yearlong bus boycott. It was a turning point in the nation's racial history, leading to U.S. Supreme Court decisions outlawing segregation of public facilities.
The church invited Parks to the Triangle to participate in its ``Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow' program, promoting community literacy and alerting young people to the dangers of drugs.