July 23, 2014

Subscriber Login



Online Subscription

Online Subscription Options

Rosa Parks, a bold catalyst for the civil rights movement

On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus, igniting the boycott that led to a Supreme Court ruling against segregation in public transportation.

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African-American civil rights activist, whom the U.S. Congress called "the first lady of civil rights," and "the mother of the freedom movement".

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake's order that she give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation. Others had taken similar steps in the twentieth century, including Irene Morgan in 1946, Sarah Louise Keys in 1955, and Claudette Colvin nine months before Parks. NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience.

Parks' act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement.