Celebrations Today – December 1
Holidays and observances
- Battle of the Sinop Day (Russia)
- Christian feast day:
- Damrong Rajanubhab Day (Thailand)
- Earliest day on which Farmer’s Day can fall, while December 7 is the latest; celebrated on the first Friday in December. (Ghana)
- Earliest day on which Good Neighborliness Day can fall, while December 7 is the latest; celebrated on the first Sunday in December. (Turkmenistan)
- Earliest day on which Sindhi Cultural Day can fall, while December 7 is the latest; celebrated on the first Sunday in December. (Sindhi diaspora)
- First President Day (Kazakhstan)
- Freedom and Democracy Day (Chad)
- Great Union Day, celebrates the Union of Transylvania with Romania in 1918. (Romania)
- Military Abolition Day (Costa Rica)
- National Day (Myanmar)
- Republic Day (Central African Republic)
- Restoration of Independence Day (Portugal)
- Rosa Parks Day (Ohio and Oregon, United States)
- Self-governance Day or Fullveldisdagurinn (Iceland)
- Teachers’ Day (Panama)
- World AIDS Day, and its related observances:
Celebrations Today – USA: December 1
National Pie Day
National Eat a Red Apple Day
Bifocals at the Monitor Liberation Day
Day With(out) Art Day
Rosa Parks Day
Faux Fur Friday – First Friday in December
National Christmas Lights Day
National Civil Air Patrol Day
National Day Without Art
World AIDS Day
Today in US History: December 1
Rosa Parks Arrested
I did not get on the bus to get arrested; I got on the bus to go home.From Rosa Parks with Gregory J. Reed, Quiet Strength
(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1994), 23.
Rosa Parks: “Why do you push us around?”
Officer: “I don’t know but the law is the law and you’re under arrest.”From Rosa Parks with Gregory J. Reed, Quiet Strength
(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1994), 23.
On the evening of December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, an African American, was arrested for disobeying an Alabama law requiring black passengers to relinquish seats to white passengers when the bus was full. Blacks also were required to sit at the back of the bus. Her arrest sparked a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system and led to a 1956 Supreme Court decision banning segregation on public transportation.
Rosa McCauley was born on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. In 1932, she married Raymond Parks and with his encouragement earned a high school diploma. The couple was active in the Montgomery Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). While working as a seamstress, Mrs. Parks served as chapter secretary and, for a time, as advisor to the NAACP Youth Council. Denied the right to vote on at least two occasions because of her race, Rosa Parks also worked with the Voters League in preparing blacks to register.
“We Shall Overcome,” Silphia Horton, Frank Hamilton, Guy Carawan, and Pete Seeger, New York: Ludlow Music, Inc., 1963.
Courtesy: Ludlow Music, Inc., 11 West 19th Street New York, NY 10011 in The Civil Rights Era: Part 2, Sit-ins, Freedom Rides, and Demonstrations, African American Odyssey
Probably first used in 1945 by striking South Carolina tobacco workers, “We Shall Overcome” became the anthem of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The protest song’s first separate publication, shown above, credits Silphia Horton of the Highlander Folk School with shared authorship.
Following the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the NAACP choose Rosa Parks to attend a desegregation workshop at the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee. Reflecting on that experience, Parks recalled, “At Highlander I found out for the first time in my adult life that this could be a unified society…I gained there the strength to persevere in my work for freedom not just for blacks, but for all oppressed people.”
Although her arrest was not planned, Park’s action was consistent with the NAACP’s desire to challenge segregated public transport in the courts. A one-day bus boycott coinciding with Parks’s December 5 court date resulted in an overwhelming African-American boycott of the bus system. Since black people constituted seventy percent of the transit system’s riders, most busses carried few passengers that day.
5,000 at Meeting Outline Boycott; Bullet Clips Bus, December 6, 1955.
African American Odyssey
Courtesy: Montgomery Advertiser,
Copyprint from microfilm.
Serial and Government Publications Division
The success of the boycott mandated sustained action. Religious and political leaders met at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and formed the Montgomery Improvement Association (later the Southern Christian Leadership Conference). Dexter’s new pastor, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., was appointed the group’s leader. For the next year, the Montgomery Improvement Association coordinated the bus boycott and King, an eloquent young preacher, inspired those who refused to ride:
If we are wrong—the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong—God almighty is wrong! If we are wrong—Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer and never came down to earth. If we are wrong—justice is a lie. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.” 1Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Montgomery, Alabama, 1955.
During the boycott, King insisted that protestors retain the moral high ground, hinting at his later strategy of nonviolent resistance.
This is not a war between the white and the Negro but a conflict between justice and injustice. If we are arrested every day, if we are exploited every day, if we are trampled over every day, don’t ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. We must use the weapon of love. 2Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Montgomery, Alabama, 1955.
In December 1956 the Supreme Court banned segregation on public transportation and the boycott ended over a year after it had begun. Rosa and Raymond Parks moved to Detroit where, for more than twenty years, the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement” worked for Congressman John Conyers. In addition to the Rosa Parks Peace Prize (Stockholm, 1994) and the U.S. Medal of Freedom (1996), Rosa Parks has been awarded two-dozen honorary doctorates from universities around the world.
Rosa Parks died on October 24, 2005, at the age of ninety-two, at her home in Detroit, Michigan. On October 30, 2005, Parks became the first woman to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
Learn more about Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement:
- Consult the following Web Guides:
- In May 1999, Congress recognized Rosa Parks’s contributions to the nation by authorizing President Clinton to award her a gold medal. Learn more about this honor and access the text of Public Law: 106-26 by reading the Bill Summary available through Thomas: Legislative Information on the Internet. Review current civil rights legislation. Search Thomas on civil rights.
- The online exhibition The African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship, highlights a wide array of important and rare books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings related to African-American history and the struggle for civil rights.
- Today in History features on the Fourteenth Amendment and Plessy v. Ferguson place the civil rights movement in context.
- Willingness to contest discrimination in Montgomery, Alabama predates the 1950s. African American Perspectives, 1818-1907 contains two turn-of-the-century items that speak against segregation in Montgomery: Jackson W. Giles vs. E. Jeff Harris, a 1902 Supreme Court brief; and “The Negro Element in American Life,” an oration delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in 1900.
- Visit the following online exhibitions:
- Search across the American Memory pictorial collections on Montgomery to view images of the city.
1. Martin Luther King Jr. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. ed. Clayborne Carson (New York: Intellectual Properties Management in Association with Warner Books: 1998), 60. (Return to text)
2. King 1998, 81. (Return to text)
Pas de deux
Agon, title page of the holograph score for two pianos, 1957.
American Treasures of the Library of Congress
On December 1, 1957, the New York City Ballet premiered Agon, a collaboration between composer Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) and choreographer George Balanchine (1904-1983). The “Pas de deux” choreographed by Balanchine to the music of Stravinsky and danced by Diana Adams and Arthur Mitchell became a defining moment in ballet history.
Both Russian émigrés, Stravinsky and Balanchine fled their homeland after the turmoil of the Russian Revolution and eventually settled in the United States. Stravinsky dedicated Agon’s score to Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, founders of the New York City Ballet.
[Portrait of Arthur Mitchell],
Carl Van Vechten, photographer,
December 20, 1955.
Creative Americans: Portraits by Van Vechten, 1932-1964
Stravinsky was the most important composer of ballet music in the twentieth century. He rose to international fame in 1910 for his work with the Ballets Russes, an innovative company founded in Paris by fellow Russian Sergei Diaghilev that launched the careers of major artists including dancers, choreographers, composers, and designers. In 1928, Stravinsky worked with Balanchine, then a choreographer for the Ballets Russes, to produce Apollo (using Stravinsky’s Apollon musagète), the first work in their extraordinary and enduring creative partnership.
Balanchine’s and Kirstein’s founding of the New York City Ballet in 1948 gave Balanchine the platform he needed to create a series of masterpieces in which his choreography collaborated with Stravinsky’s music. Agon was among these. Some of the dances in Agon, an abstract, plotless ballet for eight female and four male dancers, were suggested by a description of seventeenth-century French court dances. Recueil de dances, composées par M. Feuillet, a compilation of works choreographed by Raoul-Auger Feuillet and bound with his Chorégraphie, ou l’art de décrire la dance par caractères. . . is a work from that very era. It is one of more than 200 dance manuals in An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Instruction Manuals, ca. 1490-1920. Many of the manuals provide historical information on theatrical dance. A special presentation, Western Social Dance: An Overview, includes sections on Renaissance Dance and Baroque Dance, performance traditions that influenced both Stravinsky and Balanchine.
- Browse the occupation index of Creative Americans: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten, 1932-1964 to locate more photographs of choreographers, composers, conductors, and dancers.
- The exhibition American Treasures of the Library of Congress includes several features on the performing arts. Visit the Imagination section and click on the heading Music, Theatre, Dance to view treasures such as “Ballet for Martha,” the score to Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, and costume designs created for American modern dance pioneer Lester Horton’s early masterwork Le Sacre du Printemps.
- Read Today in History features on artists Jenny Lind, Leontyne Price, Leonard Bernstein, and Bob Fosse. Other pages cover productions of Macbeth, Porgy and Bess, and the opening of the Metropolitan Opera House.
- View The Aaron Copland Collection, ca. 1900-1990 which documents the life of this extraordinary composer, performer, teacher, writer, conductor, commentator, and administrator. Search this collection on the word Stravinsky to read, for example, Copland’s thoughts concerning “The Personality of Stravinsky.”
- Explore The Leonard Bernstein Collection, ca. 1920-1989 to find out about another composer who worked closely with choreographers. Search on the words ballet and dance to find materials such as the “Thursday Evening Previews” script in which Bernstein discusses his collaboration with Jerome Robbins, another choreographer for Balanchine’s New York City Ballet.
- Browse the Performing Arts Encyclopedia to find more materials, some digitized, on Balanchine, Stravinsky, and their contemporaries in the worlds of music and dance.
- Explore The Empire That Was Russia: The Prokudin-Gorskii Photographic Record Recreated, an exhibit of remarkable color photographs documenting Balanchine’s and Stravinsky’s homeland on the eve of the Revolution.
Today in History – December 1-External Links
Today’s Weather in History
Today in Earthquake History
This Day in Naval History
Today’s Document from the National Archives
Today’s Events, Births & Deaths –Wikipedia
Today in History by AP
On this Day -1950 to 2005 – Today’s Story–BBC
On This Day: The New York Times
This Day in History –History.com
Today in Canadian History – Canada Channel
History of Britain that took place On This Day
Russia in History –Russiapedia