Rosa Parks Changed America

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Today, we honor and celebrate Rosa Parks on what would have been her 101st birthday. “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.” Rosa Parks is known as the “mother of the civil rights movement” for her role in sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott after she refused to give up her seat to a white man.

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African-Americancivil rights activist, whom the United States Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”. Her birthday, February 4, and the day she was arrested, December 1, have both become Rosa Parks Day, commemorated in the U.S. states of California and Ohio.

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The Historical Hero: Rosa Parks

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 Keysin 1955, and the members of the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit (Claudette ColvinAurelia Browder,Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith) arrested months before Parks. NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws though eventually her case became bogged down in the state courts.

Imagine you were able to change the nation in the way that Rosa Parks did… Well, I’ll tell you one thing: You do have the power the change the entire world.

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