“The First Lady of Civil Rights”
A Woman of History
February 4, 1913 to October 24, 2005
By refusing to give up her seat in the colored area of the bus for a white passenger, when the white section became full, Rosa Parks established herself as a leader in the civil rights movement. United States Congress’ named her the First Lady of Civil Rights (Wikipedia, 2014).
Rosa was born in Tuskegee Alabama on February 4, 1913 and “was of African, Cherokee-Creek and Scots-Irish ancestry” (Wikipedia, 2014). When Rosa’s parents’ marriage ended her mother move the family in with her parents. So it was that Rosa grew up with her maternal grandparents, “former slaves and strong advocates for racial equality” (bio True Story, 2014). There was no other option for Rosa than to attend a segregated school. In her memoir Rosa talks about watching white school children being bussed past her to school, while black children were forced to walk.
Rosa married in 1932 and with her husband’s support she graduated High School at a time when less that 7% of the African American’s finished public school. She also successfully registered to vote on her third try (Wikipedia, 2014) in a political system that was designed to prevent black and poor illiterate white adults from doing so.
Rosa’s act of civil disobedience was the lightening rod that gathered African Americans into a “citywide boycott and helped launch nationwide efforts to end segregation of public facilities” (bio True Story, 2014). Rosa spent the rest of her life working for the civil rights movement.
Rosa received the following list of recognitions for her work on civil rights:
- Springarn Medal awarded by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
- Presidential Medal of Freedom presented by the President of the United States
- Congressional Gold Medal presented by the United States Congress and
There is a statue of Rosa Parks in the United States Capitol National Statuary Hall.
In death October 25, 2005 she was the “first woman and second non-US government official to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda” (Wikipedia, 2014)
Please send the time reading more about this amazing woman by visiting these links:
Angelou, M. (2013, December 6). Rosa Parks. Retrieved from Academy of Achievement: http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/par0bio-1
bio True Story. (2014). Bio True Story. Retrieved from Rosa Parks biography: http://www.biography.com/people/rosa-parks-9433715
Wikipedia. (2014). Rosa Parks. Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Parks