On this date in 1955, Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama and made history helping ignite the Civil Rights Movement. Parks’ refusal to stand for a white male passenger on a city bus and her subsequent conviction for violating segregation laws resulted in the Montgomery bus boycott. The boycott lasted more than a year and only ended once the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional on December 20, 1965.
In her autobiography, Rosa Parks: My Story, Parks recalls that day:
“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
Rosa Parks went on to become one of the pillars of the Civil Rights Movement. She received many accolades in her lifetime, including:
· The Spingarn Medal, the NAACP's highest award, and the prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. Award.
· In 1996, President Bill Clinton awarded Parks the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given by the U.S. executive branch.
· In 1998, 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.”
In honor of Rosa Parks, I hope we can all find the courage to "stand" for what we believe is right, true, and fair.
If you would like to learn more about Rosa Parks, the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,” check out some of the titles below:
I Am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer (grades Pre-K-2)
A True Book: Rosa Parks by Christine Taylor-Butler (grades 3-5)
Who Was Rosa Parks? by Yona Zeldis McDonough (grades 3-8)
Main photo: Reuters