Rosa Parks

Amanda Rodgers

About Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was born in Tuskegee, Alabama on February 4, 1913, as Rosa Louise McCauley. After her parents split up, Rosa's mother took the family to live on Rosa's grandparents farm in Pine Level, Alabama. When Parks was young her grandfather stood at the front of their farm house with a shotgun while the KKK marched down the street. At the age of 19 she met and married Raymond Parks, an active member of the NAACP and soon after became a member herself.

The Montgomery City Code required buses to be segregated and gave the bus drivers the "powers of a police officer" to carry out this code on the bus. When African Americans board the buses they had to pay in the front of the bus then get off and re-board in the back of the bus. They also had to sit in the black section in the back of the bus. On December 1, 1955, after the bus became full the driver noticed that there were white passengers standing in the aisle. The driver moved the sign back behind Parks and ordered the colored passengers to move. Rosa Parks was the only one that refused and was arrested.

E.D. Nixon, head of the legal chapter of the NAACP, started organizing a boycott against the Montgomery city buses on the evening that Rosa Parks was arrested. On December 5, 1955, Rosa Parks' trial day, most of the African American community refused to ride the buses in honor of her arrest. She became the leading symbol of the Montgomery Bus Boycotts and a major Civil Rights activist.

5 Facts

  • In recognition of her work the U.S. Congress called her "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement"
  • Rosa Parks wasn't the first African American woman to be arrested for not giving up her seat of a Montgomery bus.
  • Parks refused to move because her feet hurt.
  • She disagreed with Martin Luther King Jr. on non-violent protests.
  • Parks had a prior encounter with the bus driver that got her arrested, James Blake. She had refused to re-enter the bus threw the back after paying in the front of the bus.

Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

Rosa Parks worked with Martin Luther King Jr. to lead boycotts for Civil Rights for African Americans. After a short while though she started disagreeing with him about how the the protest should be.

Rosa Parks and the NAACP

Rosa Parks had been a member of the NAACP for many years before she got arrested. The NAACP used this as an opportunity to bring light to the subject of racial segregation. Rosa Parks headed the Youth Division of the Montgomery NAACP branch for years and got the NAACP's Spingarn Medal.