Saturday, January 14, 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - News and Notes

Monday, January 16, marks a special day for America. It's a day celebrating the birth of a man that helped change society for the better by advancing equality and civil rights in the United States.

HART will operate on a Saturday schedule in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day with the TECO Line Streetcar on a normal Monday schedule (Noon to 10 p.m.).

The following services will not operate on Monday:
  • Express/Limited Express Routes
  • HARTFlex (South Tampa, South County and Town 'N Country)
  • In-Town Trolley (Route 96)
HART Customer Service will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached by calling (813) 254-4278.

HART Customer Service centers at University Area Transit Center and Marion Transit Center will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. HART on Franklin and all other HART offices will be closed.

The MLK Day service flyer can be downloaded here.

MLK Jr. Parade Detours:

Three routes will be on detour from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. due to the MLK parade:

  • Route 9: Bus stops along 15th St. between Lake and Hillsborough Ave. will not be served due to street closures from the MLK parade.
  • Route 12: Bus stops along 22nd St. between Lake and Hillsborough Ave. will not be served due to street closures from the MLK parade.
  • Route 32: Bus stops along MLK blvd. between Nebraska and 34th street will not be served due to street closures from the MLK parade.

It All Started on a Bus...

Ms. Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat
Martin Luther King, Jr. was the face, the voice and the spirit behind the civil rights movement, but he was not alone. It all started in 1955, when Rosa Parks, a seamstress, was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man, which was in violation of segregation laws at the time. She later appealed the conviction, challenging the legality of segregation. Rosa Park's actions soon prompted bus boycotts in Montgomery, Alabama, which lead to the desegregation of Montgomery buses and became one of the movement's first victories. The boycotts, led by King, propelled him to the champion the cause.

Bombed out bus of the Freedom Riders
The boycotts may have advanced the movement, but it wasn't until 1961, that widespread desegregation was in seen in mass transit.

Coming from a variety of racial, ethnic and economical backgrounds, 436 students risked their lives on buses, planes and trains, in pursuit of racial equality. What became known as "Freedom Rides" took place throughout the South in support of civil rights, where in some cases, participants were harassed, beaten and jailed.

Dr. Raymond Arsenault, Kredelle Petway, Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr.
HART is honoring Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr. and Kredelle Petway, throughout the month of January and February for their contributions toward advancing racial equality as part of the Freedom Riders. Joining them is Dr. Raymond Arsenault, author of the award winning book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, which sparked a renewed interest in this amazing tale of courage and determination.

Keep on the lookout for a PSA featuring the trio on My Fox Tampa Bay (Channel 13 on most TVs). We'll also have more in depth posts featuring them individually in the coming weeks.

One man had a dream that one day all men would be created equal. That dream became a reality through the actions of many, including Rosa Parks and the Freedom Riders. It all started on a bus, and HART honors the role that transit played in advancing that dream of equality.

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Comments to this blog are moderated by HART staff. Constructive comments are welcome; any obscene, threatening, or otherwise inappropriate comments will be deleted before posting. Questions about specific service ("is my bus on time?") cannot be answered here, and should be directed to the HARTinfo Line at (813) 254-HART (4278). General questions may be addressed in future posts.