Name At Birth: Rosa Louise McCauley Parks
Known As: Rosa Parks
Birthday: 4 February 1913
Place of Birth: Michigan, USA
Died: 24 October 2005
Best Known For: Being an important person in the civil rights movement
Rosa Parks was a small and gentle woman who at the age of 42 years became an unsuspecting hero and a champion for black people all around the world! One winter evening (in 1955) while riding the bus on the way home from work, Rosa was told to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus so a white man could sit down. During this time, it was against the law for black people to sit next to white people on buses and in other public places (this law was called segregation). Black people were made to sit at the back of the bus.
The bus driver demanded that Rosa move to the back of the bus, Rosa calmly and bravely refused. Rosa knew that she could get into a lot of trouble but was tired of being treated badly just because she was black. Rosa believed that all people should be treated equally. The bus driver told Rosa that if she did not move, he would have her arrested for breaking the law, Rosa still refused to move. Rosa Parks was arrested that night.
Eventually the word had spread about what had happed to Rosa. The people of Montgomery (Alabama) were so upset by Rosa’s treatment that they decided to come together and protest! The African American people of Alabama made a plan to stop riding the buses until Black people were treated the same as white people. This was known as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was led by Martin Luther King Jr.
For an entire year the protesters walked to and from work. Eventually the bus company began to suffer as they needed the money from the fares of the Black passengers to stay in business.
The American court ruled that the segregation laws that separated Black people and white people on buses would need to be changed.
Rosa Parks’ small act of courage changed the world for the better!
“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free... so other people would be also free”