Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, known simply as Rosa Parks, was born on February 4, 1913, and was an American activist in the Civil Rights Movement. Bus boycotts, mass protests, and grassroots organizing were all part of Parks’ life long before she became “the first lady of civil rights” when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama on December 1, 1955. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, one of the largest and most successful mass movements against racial segregation in U.S. history.
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, known simply as Rosa Parks, was born on February 4, 1913, was an American civil rights activist famous for refusing to give up a seat for a white passenger, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Her Zodiac sign was Aquarius, and her ethnicity was Afro-American. Parks’ parents were Rose and Silvester Edwards, who separated when Parks was only two years old. Parks’ grandparents were enslaved and were advocates of racial equality. In 1932 she got married to Raymond Parks who was a member of the N.A.A.C.P. She worked as a seamstress and they both became respected members of the African American community in Montgomery. For fear of her safety, her husband discouraged Parks from joining the Montgomery N.A.A.C.P. chapter, but Parks became the chapter’s secretary.
Parks became an active member of the Civil Rights movement in 1943. In 1955 Parks made history when she refused to give her seat on a bus to a white passenger. Two police officers arrested Parks for violating the Jim Crow laws. The word of her arrest spread first in Montgomery, and the black community planned a boycott of the buses. The act of defiance by Parks became a national symbol of the N.A.A.C.P. and she became a national icon of resistance to racial segregation. The court found her guilty and fined her $10 and $4. She challenged her conviction and appealed the legality of her sentence. Park dedicated her life to civil activism. In the 1970s, Parks further played a vital role in helping free political prisoners.
In the 1990s, Parks published an autobiography, “Rosa Parks: My story,” detailing her life as an activist. Parks was widowed in 1977 when her husband died of throat cancer. Similarly, her close friend by the name Fannie Lou Hamer died the same year and Parks learned about her death in the newspapers. In 1979 she lost her mother to cancer and geriatric dementia, at the age of 92. After she retired, she spent time attending various events and causes in her last years. Parks died at 92 following a long battle with illness.
Parks is placed in custody for refusing to stand up for white passengers as the segregation laws demanded and her arrest triggers the Montgomery Bus Riots.
Parks serves as an administrative aide to John Conyers, a congressman.
Parks co-founds the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, the primary role of which was to serve the youth of Detroit.
Parks receives the Congressional Gold medal, the U.S.'s highest award to a citizen.
Why We Love Rosa Parks
She was a civil rights activist
Parks was among the founders of the Civil Rights Movement. Her act of defiance to give up her bus seat initiated the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott lasted more than ten months.
She was a giver
After her retirement as an aide to a U.S. Congressman, Parks spent her time giving back to the community and helping the poor. A true example for all of us!
Symbol of courage, dignity, and determination
Indeed none can dispute that Parks was a symbol of courage, dignity, and determination. Her zeal and effort to fight racial inequality were exemplified during her lifetime.
5 Surprising Facts
Lie in honor at U.S. Capital
After her death, her body was brought to the U.S. Capitol for a final tribute, where more than 20,00 individuals paid their last respect to her.
She was active in politics
Parks served various civil rights organizations, including the N.A.A.C.P, after which she worked as an administrative aide to a U.S. Congressman.
She published an autobiography
Parks published an autobiography “Rosa Parks: My Story,” which centered around her role as an activist.
She graduated high school
Park received her diploma in 1933 at a time when only 7% of African Americans were able to graduate.
She was arrested a second time
On February 22, 1956, Parks was arrested again for breaking segregation laws with about 100 other protesters.
Rosa Parks FAQs
How many times did Rosa Parks go to jail?
Parks went to jail twice.
What did Martin Luther say about Parks?
King said, “Parks is a fine Christian person, unassuming, and yet there is integrity and character there.”
What inspired the Montgomery Bus Boycott?
The Montgomery Bus Boycott was inspired by the arrest of Parks.
Rosa Parks’s birthday dates