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This Happened

This Happened—December 1: Rosa Parks, The Power Of Defiance

Rosa Parks was an African-American woman who became known as the “mother of the Civil Rights movement,” beginning with a single act of defiance on a city bus on this day 67 years ago.

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What happened when Rosa Parks wouldn’t give up her seat?

While coming back from work in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks, 42 at the time, refused to give up her seat for a white man in a city bus. The driver of the bus, a man named James F. Blake, demanded that she vacate a row of four seats in the "colored" section to let a White passenger sit, since the "White" section had already filled up.

She was arrested and briefly jailed for not complying with the city’s ordinance according to which Black people had to sit at the back of the bus and leave their seat to Whites. Her action set off a boycott of the city’s bus system.

What was the Montgomery bus boycott?

After Rosa Parks’ arrest, a local boycott of city buses was organized by the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) to protest segregated seating. The action lasted from December 5 1955 to December 20 1956, with about 40,000 Black people joining the movement. To support the boycott, Black taxi drivers only charged 10 cents per ride and carpools were organized across the city.

After 13 months of protests which brought national and international attention to Montgomery, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that segregation on public buses was unconstitutional. The boycott also saw the birth of two prominent figures in the Civil Rights movement: Martin Luther King Jr., MIA’s president who then led national actions against segregation, and Rosa Parks, whose initial spark prompted a national movement. In 1999 she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for her lifelong activism.

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Society

Tour Of Istanbul's Ancient Yedikule Gardens, At Risk With Urban Restoration

The six-hectare gardens in the center of Istanbul, which are more than 1,500 years old, have helped feed the city's residents over the centuries and are connected with its religious history. But current city management has a restoration project that could disrupt a unique urban ecosystem.

Photo of Muslims performing Friday prayer in the garden of Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul.

Last March, Muslims performing Friday prayer in the garden of Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul.

Tolga Ildun via ZUMA Press Wire
Canan Coşkun

ISTANBUL — The historic urban gardens of Yedikule in Istanbul are at risk of destruction once again. After damage in 2013 caused by the neighborhood municipality of Fatih, the gardens are now facing further disruption and possible damage as the greater Istanbul municipality plans more "restoration" work.

The six-hectare gardens are more than 1,500 years old, dating back to the city's Byzantine era. They were first farmed by Greeks and Albanians, then people from the northern city of Kastamonu, near the Black Sea. Now, a wide variety of seasonal produce grows in the garden, including herbs, varieties of lettuce and other greens, red turnip, green onion, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, pepper, corn, mullberry, fig and pomegranate.

Yedikule is unique among urban gardens around the world, says Cemal Kafadar, a historian and professor of Turkish Studies at Harvard University.

“There are (urban gardens) that are older than Istanbul gardens, such as those in Rome, but there is no other that has maintained continuity all this time with its techniques and specific craft," Kafadar says. "What makes Yedikule unique is that it still provides crops. You might have eaten (from these gardens) with or without knowing about it."

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