Rosa Parks

Mother of the Civil Rights Movement

Rosa Parks getting arrested for "the bus-incident"

Full Name: Rosa Parks, born as Rosa Louise McCauley
Known as: The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement
Date of birth: 4th of February, 1913 (
Tuskegee, Alabama, USA)
Date of death: 24th of October, 2005 (
Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Parents: James McCauley and Leona Edwards
Married to: Raymond Parks (
18 December 1932 - 19 August 1977)
Type of hero: Political
Goals: To stop the segregation, and the discrimination of black people

Rosa Parks will long be remembered for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1955 the African American woman was arrested, jailed, and fined $14 for this action. Her small act of rebellion helped set focus on the Civil Rights movement in the United States and dissolve¹ the separation between whites and African Americans.

Early life

Rosa Parks was born Rosa Louise McCauley in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1913. Her father, James McCauley, was a carpenter and her mother, Leona McCauley, was a teacher. At age 11, Rosa McCauley attended the Montgomery Industrial School for Girls. Here she learned the importance of self-worth and dignity. After attending Alabama State Teachers College, the young woman settled in Montgomery with her new husband, Raymond Parks. Together, they worked to improve the lives of African Americans in the South. At the time, segregation2 was still a part of life in most southern states. To help fight segregation, Parks became an adviser to the NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) Youth Council in 1949.

The Bus-incident

“The Rosa Parks bus incident”, in 1955, contributed to the creation of the MIA, Montgomery Improvement Association, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This Civil Rights group organized the Montgomery bus boycott. Martin Luther King and MIA urged3 African Americans in Montgomery to refuse to ride on city-owned buses. This boycott of Montgomery's buses lasted for 382 days. It brought attention to Martin Luther King and MIA’s cause in the rest of the world. Because of this boycott, the United States government outlawed4 separation by race on public transportation.

Later years

In 1957 Rosa Parks and her husband moved to Detroit, Michigan. There they continued to be Civil Rights activists. In 1965 Parks began working for United States Representative, John Conyers. After her husband's death in 1977, Parks founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development. Today, the Institute sponsors an annual summer program, called Pathways to Freedom, in which teenagers go round the country on busses. On this trip, they learn about the history of segregation in USA and the Civil Rights movement.
In 1989 Parks attended the celebration of the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery. Ten years later she received the Congressional Gold Medal from United States President, Bill Clinton. Today, people throughout the United States regard Rosa Parks as one of the most important figures of the Civil Rights movement

In 2005, Rosa Parks died in her apartment in Detroit. Parks had been diagnosed with progressive dementia the previous year. She aged 92.

² Separation of people, due to race, colour, religion


Tribute video to Rosa Parks, with pictures from the segregation period.