For the inspiration of Rosa Parks, we give thanks! Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr in background
I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up,
this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. ~ Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist, secretary & Youth Advisor for the NAACP, & best known for her role as the one in the front starting the Montgomery Bus Boycott that lasted 381 days. At the time I was arrested I had no idea it would turn into this.
It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant
was that the masses of the people joined in. ~ Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks & MLK:
Rosa Parks was born Rosa Louise McCauley in 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her childhood was filled with the injustice of segregation and racial prejudice. Mrs. Parks recalled in an interview, "we didn't have any civil rights. It was just a matter of survival, of existing from one day to the next. I remember going to sleep as a girl hearing the Klan ride at night and hearing a lynching and being afraid the house would burn down." In the same interview, she cited her lifelong acquaintance with fear as the reason for her relative fearlessness in deciding to appeal her conviction during the bus boycott. "I didn't have any special fear," she said. "It was more of a relief to know that I wasn't alone." It was a lifetime of injustice that led to her decision to not give up her seat that day on the bus. She married Raymond Parks & they both worked quietly to effect change. God was at the core of all her beliefs. She served the NAACP as Youth Advisor & started a foundation with a special program for youth. After the death of her husband in 1977, Mrs. Parks founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development. The Institute sponsors an annual summer program for teenagers called Pathways to Freedom. In 1995, she published her autobiography titled Quiet Strength that discussed how her faith kept her strong. She died in 2005 at the age of 92 .
Rosa Parks was a Civil Rights Activist long before and long after she refused to give up her seat on the bus!
Awards for Rosa Parks include:
The Spingarn Medal ~ National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
for outstanding achievement by an African American 1979
The Presidential Medal of Freedom 1996
The Congressional Gold Medal 1999
The Southern Christian Leadership Council established
an annual Rosa Parks Freedom Award in her honor.
After her death, her casket was placed in the rotunda of the United States Capitol for two days, so the nation could pay its respects to the woman whose courage had changed the lives of so many. She is the only woman and second African American in American history to lie in state at the Capitol, an honor usually reserved for Presidents of the United States.
I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free...
so other people would be also free.~ Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks Speaks
A brief interview with the soft spoken yet powerful Rosa:
The Rosa Parks Story
Re-enacted by school age boys
There are many informational and inspirational books and web pages on Rosa Parks;
we thank them for educating us and for the pictures! Her Wikipedia page is here.
Look her up and read, read, read for yourself!
Rosa Parks, Dr. King and others carefully planned the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Claudette Colvin and 3 others refused to give up their seats and were arrested in the months prior to Rosa's arrest. Mrs. Parks was thought the best face for the movement due to her looks and manner ~ including age ~ Claudette was 15 and Mary louise Smith 18. "Claudette gave all of us moral courage. If she had not done what she did, I am not sure that we would have been able to mount the support for Mrs. Parks." ~ Fred Gray as told toNewsweek
One year after her initial arrest, Claudette Colvin was one of four brave enough to sue the bus line with lawyer Fred Gray. Claudette was the 'star witness' in the case based on her being thrown off the bus and arrested. There were three other plantiffs in the case who also refused to give up their seats and were arrested. The woman named in the suit was Aurelia Browder, a civil rights activist with NAACP & other groups. Her arrest came 1 month after Claudette's and 8 month's before Rosa's. Mary Louise Smith was 18 when arrested; removed from a Montgomery bus 7 months after Claudette and 2 months prior to Rosa Parks. The 4th plantiff who was arrested for not giving up her seat was 70 year old Susie McDonald. The lawsuit was won proving the 14th ammendment violation. The lawsuit in tandem with Rosa's widely publized arrest and the 381 day bus boycott
finally succeeded in ending the segregation on the busses.
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