Rosa Parks


Rosa Parks was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and an African American activist. She refused to give up her seat to a white man during the segregationist era.

This started the Montgomery Bus Boycott movement as a result of which a campaign was launched to end racial discrimination in public transport.

Rosa Parks became the leader of the Civil Rights Movement and won various awards including the NAACP award.

Early Life

Originally named Rosa Louise McCauley, Parks was born in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1913. Her father, James McCauley was a carpenter, and her mother was a teacher.

Park’s was very young when she moved to Pine Level area, which is located right outside Montgomery’s capital. Until the age of 11, she attended primary school and was also a member of AME.

Family and Education

Parks received her secondary education from Alabama State College. However, she soon returned to care of her ill mother and grandmother. In 1932 Rosa and Raymond Parks got married. Her husband was a barber and a member of the NAACP.

It was because of him that Rosa got involved with the NAACP. She helped raise money for the Scottsboro Boys. While trying to get her High School Diploma, Parks performed various odd jobs such as working as a maid and a hospital aide. In 1933 she finally got her diploma.

Bus incident

On December 1st, 1955, the famous bus incident took place. Parks had just completed her seamstress work and had boarded the bus. She sat down in the colored section. Soon a white man entered the bus. Since the bus was full, the driver asked Rosa along with few other African-Americans to give up their seats, so that the white man could sit down.

Parks refused and the bus driver threatened to call the police. She still did not budge. Parks was subsequently arrested and this led to the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

Park’s was fined $10 which she refused to pay and instead appealed to a higher court. Various African-American leaders organized a meeting and decided to boycott the use of buses. Martin Luther King Jr was also a part of this boycott.

Despite facing great difficulty, the African-Americans stuck to the boycott till the very end. They faced many challenges but refused to give up. The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted for 381 days and finally, the Supreme Court declared that the segregation laws of Alabama were unlawful.

After the Boycott

Parks’ courage transformed her into an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. However, she and her husband had to face a lot of persecution as a result. She lost her job, and the Parks were forced to move to Detroit.

From 1965 to 1969, Parks worked as John Conyers’s secretary. In 1969, Parks was awarded the Spingarn Medal. She also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal as well. On 24th October 2005, Rosa Parks died. She was the first female and the second non-government individual who was given the honor to lie at the Capitol Rotunda.

I am Rosa Parks (Ordinary People Change the World) Hardcover – June 17, 2014