Frank C Clifford – Moments in Time: The Arrest of Rosa Parks


December 1, 1955; 6:06 p.m. CST; Montgomery, Alabama

Sixty years ago, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Although teenager Claudette Colvin had taken a similar stand nine months earlier, most acknowledge that it was Parks’s quiet rebellion that gave birth to the civil rights movement. Days after the incident, a then-obscure Baptist minister, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (whose Sun–MC line ran close to Montgomery), led a 381-day, nonviolent boycott of the city’s buses.

The arrest occurred during Mrs. Parks’s Uranus half-return, with transiting Saturn opposite natal Saturn. When she refused to move from her seat, she wasn’t physically tired, as some reports suggested. “The only tired I was, was tired of giving in,” she said, speaking her Sun at the mid degree (the spine) of fixed, resistant Aquarius. Having served the NAACP for years, the unassailable Parks (with six planets in Saturn’s signs) was the perfect combatant to fight segregation.

The chart is for the moment of Parks’s arrest. A Uranus–Chiron opposition squares Mars at 1° Scorpio – a tight, fixed t-square speaking of willful defiance and a daring to fight for freedom by taking an individual, political stand. (King’s Solar Arc Uranus had reached his Jupiter at 1° Taurus, completing a grand cross in the Arrest chart.)

With the Arrest chart’s Ascendant and Moon in Cancer, Parks would become the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.” The second degrees (1°+) of Cancer–Capricorn are on the horizon, and these degrees were later triggered by Pluto when Barack Obama (natal Venus at 1° Cancer) was sworn in as President in 2009. The Sabian symbol for 2° Capricorn is “Three Rose Windows in a Gothic Church, One Damaged by War,” and Lynda Hill warns of “the need to stay strong under the barrage of bombardment.” (The Sabian Symbols as an Oracle, Revised Edition, Hill & Hill, 1995, p. 110.)

Separating from Pluto, Jupiter stands in the 3rd house in early Virgo, signifying the small, neighbourhood act that would have national repercussions (the boycott ended when Jupiter reached 0° Libra). The MC–IC axis is mid Pisces–Virgo, degrees linked with the oppressed; Chiron would reach mid Pisces at the height of the 1960s protests. King’s Sun is at the Arrest chart’s Sun/MC midpoint, while asteroids offer confirmation: Rosa is on King’s natal Pisces Moon and Parks opposes his Saturn, while Bus conjoins the Arrest chart’s Neptune–Mars, and King conjoins its Saturn!

Following a November 13, 1956 Supreme Court ruling outlawing segregation, the city of Montgomery relented. Pluto was at 0° Virgo; Neptune, at 0° Scorpio. This was just the beginning of a tumultuous era that would eventually see the legal dissolution of race discrimination in the United States.

Chart Data and Sources

Martin Luther King, Jr., January 15, 1929; 12:00 p.m. (noon) CST; Atlanta, GA, USA (33°N45^, 84°W23^); A: from King’s mother, “high noon.”

Rosa Parks, February 4, 1913; time unknown; Tuskegee, Al, USA (32°N25^, 85°W42^); X: date without a time; date and place from numerous Internet sources; her timed arrest sheet can be seen at


First published in The Mountain Astrologer, December 2015–January 2016 issue.


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