Rosa Parks: Before the Bus

Learn about Rosa Parks's personal life and legacy through's 'American Freedom Stories' video series.
Image Title1

Rosa Parks has become synonymous with the Montgomery Bus Boycott. And even today as we celebrate her 101st birthday, her name has remained synonymous with standing up for what you believe in. But before that fateful day on December 1st, 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on a bus, Rosa Parks had led a life that was very much dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement.

From her childhood on, Rosa Parks had known inequality. Her grandparents were former slaves. And when she started going to school she was forced to walk all the way to her one-room elementary school while all the white children were bussed to school. These experiences remained with her as she grew older. And after meeting her husband Raymond Parks, she became actively involved in the NAACP in 1943. She became a youth leader and the field secretary for the NAACP's Montgomery chapter. Georgette Norman, the Director of the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery said Rosa Parks was "very concerned with politicizing our young people to understand that they could not accept what they did not think was right."

Those who knew her best knew her as a courageous and caring person who worked strategically to change the inequality facing African Americans in America at the time. Watch our video to hear people like Reverend Robert Graetz and former NAACP Youth Council President Dr. Mary F. Whitt discuss Rosa Parks' legacy and their memories of her life.