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Rosa Louise Parks

BIRTHDAY: February 4, 1913

Rosa Parks was always an activist for civil rights. She was active in the Montgomery Voters League and was elected as the secretary of the Montgomery, Alabama, section of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). She worked hard to register to vote even when in Alabama at that time registering to vote was made almost impossible for black people. At that time in Alabama, black people had to use separate public bathrooms, separate entrances to public areas and separate areas to sit in on buses.

In 1955 Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. Although a lot of history books try to downplay her importance by saying that Rosa Parks refused to move just because she was tired, she was no more tired on that day than on any other of her sewing job and life in the United States at that time.

Her refusal to give up her bus seat resulted in a boycott of the bus system by black people, with Martin Luther King Jr. leading the boycott. Within a year the Supreme Court had declared the bus seat segregation unconstitutional.

Rosa Parks, who had lost her job because of the boycott, moved to Detroit, Michigan, the following year, and again took in sewing. In 1965 she was hired by Congressman John Conyers Jr., also a civil rights leader. She remained active in the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In 1987 she founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development for young black Americans.

"Despite the violence and crime in our society, we should not let fear overwhelm us. We must remain strong."

"I didn't want to pay my fare and then go around the back door, because many times, even if you did that, you might not get on the bus at all. They'd probably shut the door, drive off, and leave you standing there."


  • The NAACP's Spingarn Medal (1970)
  • The Martin Luther King Jr. Award (1980)
  • An honorary degree from Shaw College
Quiet Strength, Rosa Parks

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