Rosa Parks BY: zahara bashir-mohammed

Who is Rosa Parks:? Rosa Parks, a famed civil rights activist, was born Rosa Louise McCauley on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. Rosa Parks's childhood brought her early experiences with racial discrimination and activism for racial equality. After her parents separated, Rosa's mother moved the family to Pine Level, Alabama to live with her parents, Rose and Sylvester Edwards—both former slaves and strong advocates for racial equality; the family lived on the Edwards' farm, where Rosa would spend her youth. In one experience, Rosa's grandfather stood in front of their house with a shotgun while Ku Klux Klan members marched down the street. Through the rest of Rosa's education, she attended segregated schools in Montgomery, including the city's Industrial School for Girls (beginning at age 11). In 1929, while in the 11th grade and attending a laboratory school for secondary education led by the Alabama State Teachers College for Negroes, Rosa left school to attend to both her sick grandmother and mother back in Pine Level. She never returned to her studies; instead, she got a job at a shirt factory in Montgomery.

"All I was doing was trying to get home from work." -Rosa Parks

Historical significance: When an African-American passenger boarded the bus, they had to get on at the front to pay their fare and then get off and re-board the bus at the back door. When the seats in the front of the bus filled up and more white passengers got on, the bus driver would move back the sign separating black and white passengers and, if necessary, ask black passengers give up their seat.

RACIAL DISCRIMINATION: Although she had become a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks suffered hardship in the months following her arrest in Montgomery and the subsequent boycott. She lost her department store job and her husband was fired after his boss forbade him to talk about his wife or their legal case. Unable to find work, they eventually left Montgomery; the couple, along with Rosa's mother, moved to Detroit, Michigan. There, Rosa made a new life for herself, working as a secretary and receptionist in U.S. Representative John Conyer's congressional office. She also served on the board of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Achievement: In 1979, the NAACP awarded Rosa Parks the Spingarn Medal, their highest honor. In 1980, the NAACP awarded Rosa Parks the Martin Luther King Jr. Award. In 1983, Rosa Parks was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.In 1990, Rosa Parks had the honor of being part of the welcoming party for Nelson Mandela, who had been recently imprisoned in South Africa.In September of 1992, Rosa Parks was awarded the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience award for her years of community service and lifelong commitment to social change through non-violent means and civil rights.Rosa Parks: My Story was written and published in 1992 by Rosa Parks herself. The book told the story of Rosa’s life leading up to the day she got on that bus and decided that she was not giving up her seat. Rosa later published another book called Quiet Strength, which described her faith and how it helped her on her journey through life.In 1996, Rosa Parks was presented, by President Bill Clinton, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civilian by the United States Government.In 1998, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center presented Rosa Parks with the International Freedom Conductor Award.In 1999, Rosa Parks was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal.In 1999, Rosa Parks was awarded the Detroit-Windsor International Freedom Festival Freedom Award.In 1999, Time Magazine named Rosa Parks as one of the 20 most powerful and influential figures of the century.In 2000, the State of Alabama awarded Rosa Parks the Governor’s Medal of Honor for Extraordinary Courage. She also received the Alabama Academy Award the same year.In December of 2000, The Rosa Parks Library and Museum was dedicated on the campus of Troy University in Montgomery, Alabama. The museum is famous for its statue of Rosa sitting on a bus bench.During her lifetime, Rosa Parks was awarded more than two dozen honorary doctorates from universities worldwide. She was also inducted as an honorary member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.Rosa Parks, along with Elaine Eason Steel, started the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development in February of 1987. The Institute was developed in honor of Rosa’s husband, Raymond Parks who had died in 1977 of cancer. The Institute’s main function is to run the “Pathways to Freedom” bus tours, which take young people around the country to visit historical sites along the Underground Railroad and to important locations of events in Civil Rights history.

“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

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an American suffragist, social activist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the early women's rights movement.

Credits:

Created with images by Ron Cogswell - "'It Seemed Like Reaching for the Moon.' -- Virginia Civil Rights Memorial Richmond (VA) 2012" • sabudama - "Rosa Parks' Bus" • cliff1066™ - "Rosa Parks" • bc 400 - "Rosa Parks Building" • caboindex - "martin luther king" • Political Graveyard - "Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)"

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