Erwin-Penland Remembers Rosa Parks

ATLANTA The front row of seats on 15 public transportation buses in Greenville, S.C., bear black ribbons in memory of Rosa Parks, the Alabama cleaning woman who helped spark the civil rights movement by refusing to surrender her bus seat to a white man.

The ribbons carry the message, “Sometimes you have to sit down to stand up for something,” and will remain on the bus seats through the end of this week. The work was conceived, created and financed by Erwin-Penland, an Interpublic Group advertising agency in Greenville.

“Rosa Parks was a quiet woman of tremendous integrity who clearly believed actions speak louder than words,” said Andy Mendelsohn, executive creative director at Erwin-Penland. “Her dignity and her courage still set a great example even today and we hope these ribbons will honor her memory.”

Parks died Oct. 24 at the age of 92. Fifty years ago, she was arrested in Montgomery, Ala., for violating a law that required African Americans to sit in the back of buses. In response, the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system that evolved into the civil rights movement.

Parks also was honored this week by becoming the first woman to lie in state in the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C. Flags are flying at half mast today in her honor.