Black History Month 2022

Rosa Parks & Her Impact on History

February 4th is Rosa Parks's Birthday

We all know the Rosa Parks story: a Black woman living in Alabama in the Jim Crow era, tired from her day of work as a seamstress, got onto the bus to go home. She sank into an open at the front of the bus, in the 'whites only' section. A stickler for the Jim Crow rules, the bus driver demanded that she move to the back of the bus. Her refusal and subsequent arrest led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which eventually led to the passing of the landmark Civil Rights Act.

Truth or myth, or something in between? It's fitting that Rosa Parks's birthday kicks off Black History Month. This template takes a her story as a launching off point, exploring in more depth her actions and those around her whose work pushed forward the cause of civil rights in America.

Let's start here, with a PBS video that debunks the myth:

Let's go back for a minute and make sure we understand the historical context.

Learning More About Claudette Colvin

Here's a great article about the 15-year old who refused to give up her seat several months before Rosa Parks, feeling as if she had "Harriet Tubman on one shoulder and Sojourner Truth on the other." Powerful!

Change Comes Through Legislation

Browder vs. Gayle was the name of the 1956 lawsuit filed by four women, including Claudette Colvin, because they were forced to give up their bus seats in Montgomery. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court. Here is the story.

Rosa Parks, In Her Own Words

What is the Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement?

Here, four citizens of Indiana, across a range of ages, talk about the Civil Rights movement and how it's connected to protests for racial justice today.

Educating the Rosa Parks of Tomorrow

Think on this...

  • Can people under age 21 make a real impact on society? For example, can they be instrumental in changing laws or policies on issues they care about? How?
  • What examples from the past or present can you think of to support your opinion?
  • What qualities, skills, circumstances or perspectives are unique to young people — whether today or in the past — and how might they help make their voices uniquely powerful?