ROSA Parks, named by the US Congress as “the first lady of Civil Rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement,” was born on this day in 1913.
Parks is best remembered for her refusal to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama in December of 1955.
Although she wasn’t the first black person to do so, Parks’s civil disobedience kicked off a massive boycott and Supreme Court decision that affirmed that Alabama’s segregation laws were unconstitutional.
Rosa Parks once said: “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
Parks’ fierce determination to challenge racism was part of her upbringing. She recalled, “I had almost a life history of being rebellious against being mistreated because of my color.”
Parks died in October of 2005, and was given memorial services to reflect her heroic legacy in Detroit, Montgomery, and Washington, D.C. She was the first woman in history to lie in state in the capitol rotunda, as well as the first American who was not a government official and the second African-American to do so.
Rosa Parks’ impact on history is undeniable.