Rosa Parks
Civil Rights Leaders

Who was Rosa Parks?

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May 09, 2017 6:13AM

Rosa Parks (1913 - 2005) was a civil rights activist. She is well-known for her refusal to surrender her seat on the bus for the benefit of a white citizen. Her actions ultimately resulted in her arrest and the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This led to segregation laws being declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. Rosa was very brave to say no, and deserves to be respected for her courage and determination. Many people looked up to her, especially as a symbol of the Civil Rights movement.

Work for Civil Rights

In 1955, Rosa Parks was an African-American living in Montgomery, Alabama, a city with laws that strictly segregated blacks and whites. On 1 December 1955, after her day of work as a seamstress at a local department store, Parks boarded a city bus. When she refused to give up her seat to a white man, the bus driver called police, and Parks was arrested and fined. The resulting bus boycott by African-Americans (led by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.) caused a national sensation. The boycott was a success and led to desegregation in Montgomery and elsewhere in the United States. Over time, Parks became a national icon of civil rights and African-American pride. Parks worked as an aide to Michigan Congressman John Conyers, Jr. from 1966 until her retirement in 1988. She founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development in 1987. In 1996, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.