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She Helped Stitch a New Social Fabric for the Nation

On Dec. 1, 1955, a soft-spoken black seamstress refused to stand for one of three white men seeking a seat on a crowded bus in Montgomery, Ala. The incident led to the landmark Montgomery bus boycott that lasted 381 days and brought national attention to Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Less than a year after Parks’ arrest, the Supreme Court struck down Alabama’s state and local bus segregation laws as unconstitutional. On Thursday, civil rights activists gathered at the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta to honor Parks, now 75, at a ceremony dedicating a new exhibit portraying her life. “Dear noble lady, your greatness can never be exaggerated,” author Margaret Walker Alexander told Parks. “You are the epitome of race pride and all our struggle for full and equal participatory democracy.” The exhibit in the center’s newly dedicated Rosa Parks Conference Room features pictures of Parks’ family, childhood and days of activism, including a photo she posed for in Life magazine, seated on the bus seat she refused to relinquish.

--One year ago, 18-month-old Jessica McClure fell into an 8-inch-wide abandoned well shaft in Midland, Tex., and for 58 hours remained trapped 22 feet underground while a massive rescue effort galvanized the nation. As 400 rescue workers worked around the clock, little Jessica called for her mother and sang Walt Disney’s “Winnie the Pooh” song to herself. “It tore me up,” police spokesman Jim White said. “There were tough oil field roughnecks with tears in their eyes. We knew Jessica was alive. . . .” Today, Jessica, now 2 1/2, is walking normally despite losing her right little toe and the tip of her big toe and doesn’t seem to have any emotional scars from her ordeal, according to orthopedic surgeon Charles Younger. Jessica’s parents, Chip and Sissy McClure, both 19, are trying to live quietly and avoid publicity, a family spokesman said. Chip works at a sporting goods store and Sissy is a homemaker and community volunteer.

--Sixth-graders at Campbell Elementary School in Arvada, Colo., are mailing a book containing Dr. Seuss-like characters to Dr. Seuss creator Theodor Geisel to thank him for allowing his works to be displayed at the Denver Children’s Museum. Among their creations: the Cusslater, a machine that cleans up the vocabulary of children who call other children names, and the Spitasaurus, which spits on people who spit on their friends.


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