America was a different place in 1955. In much of the country, and not just the Deep South, racial segregation was enforced by law and custom. By the simple act of sitting down on a Montgomery bus -- in a seat reserved for white people -- Rosa Parks triggered the semi-official beginning of the modern Civil Rights movement. Her arrest for violating Alabama's segregation laws is hard to comprehend today.
America was a different place in 1955. Thank you, Rosa Parks.