Black History Month: Rosa Parks

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was born in Tuskegee, Ala. in 1913. She is best known for being a civil rights activist and has the nickname the “first lady of civil rights”. At the age of 11, Parks moved to Montgomery, Ala., where she later attended a laboratory school at the Alabama State Teachers’ College. But at the age of 16, she dropped out to take care of her sick grandmother and mother. Later on, in 1932, Parks married Raymond Parks, who was apart of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

In 1943, Parks joined the Mongomery chapter of the NAACP, where she became a well-respected chapter secretary. While she was there, she got to work closely with E.D. Nixon, who would later bail her out of jail and be a part of the boycott alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Parks.

On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white man in Montgomery, Ala. On the bus, it was known that white people had the front seats reserved for them, and people of color had the back seats reserved for them. However, if the front seats were full, the bus driver had the authority to ask a black person to move, so that is what the bus driver asked Parks and two others to do. But, she refused and then ultimately got arrested that day. 

She was found guilty of violating segregation laws, was fined $10 and was fired from her job. Her actions fueled the creation of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. King led this boycott that lasted over a year. There was a lot of violence and struggle during these boycotts, but eventually, on Nov. 13, 1956, the Supreme Court ruled that the bus segregation was unconstitutional. Therefore, the boycott finally ended on Dec. 20, 1956, where Parks set an example for many movements to come. From that day on, she was considered the “mother of the civil rights movement”.