Rosa Louise McCauley Parks¬†(February 4, 1913¬†‚Äď October 24, 2005) was an American¬†activist¬†in the¬†civil rights movement¬†best known for her pivotal role in the¬†Montgomery bus boycott. The¬†United States Congress¬†has called her “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”.[1]

On December 1, 1955, in¬†Montgomery, Alabama, Parks rejected bus driver¬†James F. Blake‘s order to vacate a row of four seats in the “colored” section in favor of a white passenger, once the “white” section was filled.[2]¬†Parks wasn’t the first person to resist bus segregation, but the¬†National Association for the Advancement of Colored People¬†(NAACP) believed that she was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for¬†civil disobedience¬†in violating Alabama segregation laws, and she helped inspire the black community to boycott the Montgomery buses for over a year. The case became bogged down in the state courts, but the federal Montgomery bus lawsuit¬†Browder v. Gayle¬†resulted in a November 1956 decision that bus segregation is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[3][4]

Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery bus boycott became important symbols of the movement. She became an international icon of resistance to¬†racial segregation, and organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including¬†Edgar Nixon¬†and¬†Martin Luther King Jr.. At the time, Parks was employed as a seamstress at a local department store and was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. She had recently attended the¬†Highlander Folk School, a¬†Tennessee¬†center for training activists for workers’ rights and racial equality. Although widely honored in later years, she also suffered for her act; she was fired from her job, and received death threats for years afterwards.[5]¬†Shortly after the boycott, she moved to¬†Detroit, where she briefly found similar work. From 1965 to 1988, she served as secretary and receptionist to¬†John Conyers, an African-American¬†US Representative. She was also active in the¬†Black Power¬†movement and the support of¬†political prisoners¬†in the US.

After retirement, Parks wrote her autobiography and continued to insist that there was more work to be done in the struggle for justice.[6]¬†Parks received national recognition, including the NAACP’s 1979¬†Spingarn Medal, the¬†Presidential Medal of Freedom, the¬†Congressional Gold Medal, and a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol’s¬†National Statuary Hall. Upon her death in 2005, she was the first woman to¬†lie in honor¬†in the¬†Capitol Rotunda.¬†California¬†and¬†Missouri¬†commemorate¬†Rosa Parks Day¬†on her birthday, February 4, while¬†Ohio¬†and¬†Oregon¬†commemorate the anniversary of her arrest, December 1.

Black History



Related posts


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: