Rosa Parks, 1913-2005

  • Rosa-Parks-WWP

Woman Category: Activism & Feminism, Philanthropy, and Politics & LeadersWoman Tags: Abolitionist and African-American Women

  • HerStory

    A civil right movement leader, known for her great contribution in the struggle for equality in the US.

    Rosa Louis McCauley was born in 1913 in Alabama. In her youth, the law in Alabama segregated people of color in all public shared spaces and prevented them their voting rights. In 1943 Parks joined the Civil Rights movement, elected to serve as a secretary in the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She was the first and only woman there at the time, working alongside Edgar Nixon and Martin Luther King Jr. Despite the discriminating law, Parks managed to fulfill her voting right on her third try in 1945.
    On December 1st, 1955, she refused to give her seat on the bus for a white passenger, as opposed to the rules of the bus company at the time. That single act led to the “Montgomery Bus Boycott” which became a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement.
    Although she wasn’t the first to do so, the NAACP believed that her willingness to become a public figure made her the best candidate to see through the trial awaiting after her arrest for civil disobedience. Parks was found guilty of disorderly conduct and violating a local ordinance. She appealed her conviction, and by doing so, she formally objected and challenged the legality of racial segregation. She won and that changed everything.
    From there on, Rosa Parks devoted the rest of her life fighting for civil rights and equality for African-Americans. She worked hard to improve, develop, support, and help the Civil Rights Movement against discrimination and segregation. She was also involved in a great vast of political struggles fighting for equality in all fields of life, from fair housing and equal education, through labor rights and police abuse awareness, to freedom of thought and speech. She co-founded different foundations and non-profit organizations for the cause.
    Rosa Parks died of natural causes on October 24th, 2005 at the age of 92. On her death many great gestures have been made, such one is the Montgomery and Detroit City official announcement that all the front seats of their buses would have a black ribbon in honor of her memory. Her casket was laid in her church in Montgomery and then flown to be laid in the rotunda of the US Capitol in Washington D.C, an honor that was given to few who were not US government officials. She was the first woman to lie in honor in the rotunda.

    “You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right”

    “You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right”


    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • She published two autobiographies: ‘Rosa Parks: My Story’ (1992) and ‘Quiet Strength’ (1995).
    • A portion of the U.S Interstate 55 is named after her since it was sponsored by the KKK, and the Missouri legislator voted to call the road so in her honor. In response, she said: “It’s always nice to be thought of.”
    • The chapel in which she was buried in Detroit was renamed “Rosa L. Parks Freedom Chapel.”
    • Although she was famous, she wasn’t a wealthy woman and donated most of her income to different civil rights causes. In her final years, her living fees were paid with the aid of her community and different organizations as an act of appreciation and respect to this inspiring woman.
    • Many places, streets, roads, and avenues were named in her honor.
    • Rosa Parks Day is commemorated on her birthday, February 4th, in the US states of California and Missouri, and on December 1st, the day she got arrested in Ohio and Oregon.
    • In 2013, the American Public Transportation Association declared December 1, 2005, the 50th anniversary of her arrest, to be a “National Transit Tribute to Rosa Parks Day.”
    • The USPS unveiled a postage stamp in her honor.
    • On February 27, Parks became the first African-American woman to have her likeness depicted in the National Statuary Hall. The monument, created by sculptor Eugene Daub, is a part of the Capitol Art Collection among nine other females featured in the National Statuary Hall Collection.
  • More About Her Legacy

    * 1979 - Spingarn Medal of The NAACP (its highest honor)
    * 1980 - Martin Luther King Jr. Award
    * 1983 - Inducted into Michigan Women's Hall of Fame for her achievements in civil rights
    * 1984 - Candace Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women
    * 1992 - Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award
    * 1995 - Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award
    * 1996 - Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest honor given by the US executive branch)
    * 1998 - She was the first to receive the International Freedom Conductor Award given by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
    * 1999 - Congressional Gold Medal (the highest award given by the US legislative branch, the medal bears the legend "Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement")
    * 2000 - Windsor–Detroit International Freedom Festival Freedom Award
    * Alabama Academy of Honor
    * She was the first to receive the Governor's Medal of Honor for Extraordinary Courage from Alabama Governor
    * Two dozen Honorary Doctorates from universities worldwide

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  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • Rosa Parks - Civil Rights Activist | Mini Bio | BIO

    Civil rights activist Rosa Parks (February 4, 1913 to October 24, 2005) refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a segregated Montgomery, Alabama bus, which spurred on the 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott that helped launch nationwide efforts to end segregation of public facilities. The city of Montgomery had no choice but to lift the law requiring segregation on public buses. Rosa Parks received many accolades during her lifetime, including the NAACP's highest award. #Biography
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    Rosa Parks - Civil Rights Activist | Mini Bio | BIO

  • Rosa Parks's statue in the Capitol. Photo credit - WWP team.

  • Citations and Additional References:
    Rosa Parks website. website.
    Wikipedia page.