Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

InDon’t Ride the Bus on Monday, Louise Meriwether sketches the story of Rosa Parks and the influences that led her, on December 1, 1955, to defy the demands of a Montgomery bus driver to give up her seat to a white passenger. The book further details the actions that followed: Parks’s arrest, the organization of the bus boycott, the hardships as the protest continued for 381 days, and the eventual ruling by the Supreme Court that segregation on Montgomery buses was illegal. While the book chronicles the life of Parks, a citizen of Montgomery, Alabama, its larger story is the dramatic beginning of the Civil Rights movement. Meriwether offers a distilled look at a significant moment in American history.

Meriwether begins the work by describing Parks’s childhood. The book portrays the one-room shack where she attended school as contrasted with the “lovely new school building” where white children studied. Parks’s grandfather spoke to her of the terror spread by the Ku Klux Klan and of his days as a slave, when he was beaten so badly that he would always limp. Meriwether fosters a sense of admiration for the young Parks as she struggled to overcome poverty and to graduate from high school.

Meriwether makes clear all that Parks was risking on the fateful day that she failed to yield her seat, and she portrays the events that followed Parks’s actions and the ways in which these events eventually changed the course of history....

(The entire section is 442 words.)