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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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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Will Winter Crack The Western Alliance In Ukraine?

Kyiv's troops are facing bitter cold and snow on the frontline, but the coming season also poses longer term political questions for Ukraine's allies. It may be now or never.

Ukraine soldier in winer firing a large canon with snow falling

Ukraine soldier firing a large cannon in winter.

Pierre Haski


PARIS — Weather is a weapon of war. And one place where that’s undoubtedly true right now is Ukraine. A record cold wave has gripped the country in recent days, with violent winds in the south that have cut off electricity of areas under both Russian and Ukrainian control. It's a nightmare for troops on the frontline, and survival itself is at stake, with supplies and movement cut off.

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This is the reality of winter warfare in this part of Europe, and important in both tactical and strategic terms. What Ukraine fears most in these circumstances are Russian missile or drone attacks on energy infrastructures, designed to plunge civilian populations into cold and darkness.

The Ukrainian General Staff took advantage of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's visit to Kyiv to ask the West to provide as many air defense systems as possible to protect these vital infrastructures. According to Kyiv, 90% of Russian missile launches are intercepted; but Ukraine claims that Moscow has received new weapon deliveries from North Korea and Iran, and has large amounts of stocks to strike Ukraine in the coming weeks.

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