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Rosa Parks


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Rosa Parks

  1. 1. Created by: Benedict S. Gombocz
  2. 2.  Rosa Parks was born Rosa Louise McCauley on February 4, 1913, to James McCauley (a carpenter) and Leona Edwards (a teacher). When her parents split, she and her younger brother Sylvester moved with their mother to their grandmother’s farm in Pine Level, Alabama. Home-schooled until age 11, Rosa moved on to Alabama State Teachers College for Negroes to receive secondary education. Was forced to quit secondary education subsequently to care for her grandmother and then her mother.
  3. 3.  In 1932, Rosa married Raymond Parks, a barber in Montgomery and a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Rosa Parks had a variety of jobs from being a domestic worker to a housekeeper to a seamstress to a hospital aide; she completed her high school education, with her husband’s support, in 1933. She joined the NAACP in 1943; was elected to be volunteer secretary to the president of the association, Edgar Nixon.
  4. 4.  Parks had seen the segregation between whites and blacks throughout her life – the life of dealing with segregation was marked by such discrimination against blacks on a daily base on every level of existence; she had witnessed it in schools and colleges, in the workplace and even in public transport. The system of segregation was very unusual in public buses; the first four rows of seats were reserved for whites and the rest were for blacks. A moveable board was placed in the bus to indicate the sections reserved for each race. When whites came on the bus in larger numbers, the board was moved back and additional seats were available for whites; blacks vacating those seats had to either move to the back or simply get off the bus.
  5. 5.  On December 1, 1955, Parks and four other people were sitting in the front of the black section of the bus. As more whites got on the bus, the driver moved the board back and asked Parks and these four to give up their seats; the other four complied, but Parks refused to get up, and the driver called the police and had her arrested. Parks’ arrest marked a nationwide movement to boycott the city buses, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which started the career of none other than Martin Luther King, Jr.; this paved the way for the end of the racist and discriminatory attitude of the United States of America.
  6. 6.  On November 13, 1956, the United States Supreme Court passed a court order ruling that racial segregation on buses is unconstitutional; the order reached Montgomery on December 20, 1956, and the bus boycott ended on the subsequent day. During the days of the trial and for many days afterwards, Parks and her NAACP associates, including Martin Luther King, Jr., were often attacked by segregationists. Life for Parks and her husband became very hard; both lost their jobs moved to Hampton, Virginia, and later to Detroit. Parks worked as a seamstress and was appointed secretary and receptionist in the congressional office of the African-American U.S. Representative John Conyers in 1965; she worked there until her retirement in 1988. Raymond Parks died of cancer in 1977; in 1987, Rosa Parks and Elaine Eason Steele co-founded Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development.
  7. 7.  In 1992, Mrs. Parks released her autobiography titled Rosa Parks: My Story; in 1995, another of her memoirs titled Quiet Strength was published. The former details Mrs. Parks’ life until her decision to refuse to give up her seat on the bus; the latter focuses on the part played by faith in Parks’ life. Late in her life, she received a lot of honors, most notably the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton in 1996. Mrs. Parks died on October 24, 2005, in Detroit, after a battle with progressive dementia; she was 92. Her biography is a photo of a woman who had the strength and courage to defend what was right and just.
  8. 8.  biography.html