On the evening of December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for disobeying a law requiring black passengers to relinquish seats to white passengers when the bus was full. Blacks also were required to sit at the back of the bus.

She later said, “I did not get on the bus to get arrested; I got on the bus to go home.” But when the bus driver threatened to call the police over her refusal to give up her seat, she told him to go ahead. Her arrest sparked a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system and led to a 1956 Supreme Court decision banning segregation on public transportation.

She was born Rosa McCauley on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. In 1932,  she married Raymond Parks and with his encouragement earned a high school diploma. The couple was active in the NAACP and the Voters League, where she helped black citizens register to vote.

Rosa Parks, who has been called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”, died in 2005 at the age of 92. For more information on Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement, visit the library and check out our biographies and the call number 323.

Posted by Nancy, who admires everyday heroes like Rosa Parks.