East Texans Call Rosa Parks an "American Hero"

Rosa Parks is a hero for the East Texans who lived through the days of segregation. "I reckon!," says Lillie Turner. "I was a well grown woman back then." As Lillie walks on to the bus at the Tyler Transit bus stop it's especially gratifying knowing she can sit anywhere she wants. "It's a blessing because when I first came to Tyler that's what would happen. They had two back seats. You wasn't allowed to sit in the first one. You had to get in the uttermost back," says Lillie.
"She broke the egg for us and we can all be proud!," says Jewelene Bailey also waiting for the bus.
Rosa Parks' courage was so strong, some East Texans say they couldn't have done was she did that day in 1955. But we are all better off for it. "I can look at her as a perfect example of standing firm on your beliefs," says Gwenda Williams of Tyler. "She affected all races.
"She was a fine lady, a fine lady," says Marvin Reagan.
"She opened the eyes of our society for blacks and whites to coexist together," says Sheila Cole.  
As many were sad to hear of Parks' death, her impact on our society will be felt for generations to come. "She was definitely a history maker!," says Sheila.
Some East Texans also told us today that they believe the younger generations, who didn't live through the civil rights movement, appreciate the heroes who fought for freedom and equality.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com