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*Rosa Parks was born on this date in 1913. She was a Black activist.
Rosa McCauley grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, and attended the all-Black Alabama State College. Rosa and her husband, Raymond Parks, were active in Montgomery's chapter of the NAACP. She worked as the chapter's youth adviser; on voter registration drives and was secretary of the NAACP’s Montgomery branch in 1943. As the 1950s began, the segregated seating policies on public buses were growing as a source of resentment and bitterness within the Black community in Montgomery.
Blacks were required to pay their fares at the front of the bus and board through the back door. The white bus drivers would harass Blacks, sometimes driving away before they could get back on the bus. On December 1, 1955, Parks took her seat in the front of the "colored section." When the driver asked Parks and three other Black riders to give up their seats to whites, Parks refused and was arrested; she soon agreed to let the NAACP provide legal counsel. Rosa Parks' case was filed in the United States District Court, which ruled in her favor, declaring segregated seating on buses unconstitutional, later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was more than an accidental symbol; she was an experienced activist with strong beliefs. Her arrest for refusing to give up her seat on a bus set the turning point in the African American battle for civil rights. Parks and her husband relocated to Detroit in 1957, and Congressman John Conyers hired her as an administrative assistant, a position she held until 1987.
Rosa Parks, a committed activist, died on October 24, 2005. On October 30th and 31st of that year, she became the first woman to lie in honor in the vast circular room under the Capitol dome. By voice vote, the House agreed to the action "so that the citizens of the United States may pay their last respects to this great American."
Black Heroes of The Twentieth Century
Edited by Jessie Carney Smith
Copyright 1998 Visible Ink Press, Detroit, MI