- NAME: Rosa Parks
- OCCUPATION: Civil Rights Activist
- BIRTH DATE: February 04, 1913
- DEATH DATE: October 24, 2005
- EDUCATION: Industrial School for Girls, Alabama State Teachers College for Negroes
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Tuskegee, Alabama
- PLACE OF DEATH: Detroit, Michigan
- Maiden Name: Rosa Louise McCauley
- AKA: Rosa McCauley
- AKA: Rosa Parks
- AKA: Rosa Louise Parks
- Full Name: Rosa Louise McCauley Parks
Best Known For
Civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger, spurring the Montgomery boycott and other efforts to end segregation.
Montgomery Bus Boycott (3:51)
Rosa Parks - Legacy (3:03)
Those who knew Rosa Parks personally discuss her legacy and their memories of her life.
For 382 days, almost the entire African-American population of Montgomery, Alabama, including leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, refused to ride on segregated buses, a turning point in the American civil rights movement.
At an early age, Rosa Parks faced injustice wherever she went and decided that by taking action she could change the world around her.
On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and from there sparked a national Civil Rights Movement for racial equality.
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Unable to find work, they eventually left Montgomery; the couple, along with Rosa's mother, moved to Detroit, Michigan. There, Rosa made a new life for herself, working as a secretary and receptionist in U.S. Representative John Conyer's congressional office. She also served on the board of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
In 1987, with longtime friend Elaine Eason Steele,
Rosa founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development. The organization runs "Pathways to Freedom" bus tours, introducing young people to important civil rights and Underground Railroad sites throughout the country.
In 1992, Rosa published Rosa Parks: My Story, an autobiography recounting her life in the segregated South. In 1995, she published Quiet Strength which includes her memoirs and focuses on the role that religious faith played throughout her life.
Rosa Parks received many accolades during her lifetime, including the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP's highest award, and the prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. Award. On September 9, 1996, President Bill Clinton awarded Parks the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given by the United States' executive branch. The following year, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award given by the U.S. legislative branch. In 1999, TIME magazine named Rosa Parks on its list of "The 20 most influential People of the 20th Century."
On October 24, 2005, at the age of 92, Rosa Parks quietly died in her apartment in Detroit, Michigan. She had been diagnosed the previous year with progressive dementia. Her death was marked by several memorial services, among them lying in state at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., where an estimated 50,000 people viewed her casket. Rosa was interred between her husband and mother at Detroit's Woodlawn Cemetery, in the chapel's mausoleum. Shortly after her death, the chapel was renamed the Rosa L. Parks Freedom Chapel.
February 4, 2013 marks what would have been Rosa Parks's 100th birthday. In celebration of Parks's centennial, memorial ceremonies and other events honoring the civil rights activist have been planned nationwide. Among these honors, a commemorative U.S. Postal Service stamp, called the Rosa Parks Forever stamp and featuring a rendition of the famed activist, debuted on Parks's centennial birthday. Later that month, President Barack Obama unveiled a statue honoring Parks in the nation's Capitol building. He remembered Parks, according to The New York Times, by saying "In a single moment, with the simplest of gestures, she helped change America and change the world. . . . And today, she takes her rightful place among those who shaped this nation’s course." The sculpture was designed by Robert Firmin and sculpted by Eugene Daub.
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