Susan Anthony Clara Barton Sacagawea Rosa Parks Sojourner Truth

Rosa Parks

(February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005)

Called the “Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement” by the U.S Congress, Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Alabama in December 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white passenger. While other African Americans had previously acted out against segregation with similar actions, it was Park’s actions that attracted attention and led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. On December 1, Parks was arrested for violation of the segregation law and was bailed out the next day by civil rights leader, E.D Nixon, and lawyer, Clifford Durr. That evening the Women’s Political Council began making plans for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Over 35,000 handbills were printed and the boycott was announced in black churches all over the area that Sunday.

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“The Montgomery Advertiser” also announced the boycott on its front page that week. Many believe that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat because she was tired from a long day of work, often picturing her as an elderly lady. This is not the case however. At the time of her actions on the bus, Rosa Parks was forty-two years old. She was tired, but not physically. She was tired of being mistreated and forced to “take a back seat” to white people. The boycott lasted 381 days and the law of segregation on public buses was lifted. The Montgomery Bus Boycott stirred up and inspired a number of bus boycotts around the country and played a large role in the African American civil rights movement. Ironically, it was much later in life before Rosa Parks received much national recognition in the form of honours and awards.

 

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