December 1st, 1955 Rosa Parks Stood UP by Staying Seated.
Untapped Potential stands in respect for the mother of the civil rights movement Rosa Parks.
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks led an impressive life picking cotton alongside her grandparents at age 6, attending segregated schools in Alabama to pursue her education, working for the NAACP investigating crimes against Black people, becoming a registered voter after taking the literacy test three times. On December 1, 1955 she was arrested for defying a bus driver's order to give up her seat in the colored section to a white man. Her arrest ignited the bus boycott which lasted for 381 days. In June 1956, the district court declared racial segregation laws ( called "Jim Crow laws") unconstitutional. On November 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Alabama state and Montgomery city bus segregation laws as being in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. After the city of Montgomery lost its appeal, it lifted its enforcement of bus segregation and the boycott officially ended on December 20, 1956.
“People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired ... the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” —Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks spent decades fighting for civil rights prior to the famous December 1st arrest. Following the boycott, she and her husband both suffered hardship, losing their jobs and receiving death threats. In 1957 she and her husband moved to Detroit. She continued her activism throughout her life, earning many accolades including more than 43 honorary doctorate degrees, the highest NAACP honor the Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the US Congressional Gold Medal, Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize, and being named TIME magazine's 1999 list of "The 20 Most Influential People of the 20th Century.”
Rosa Parks died on October 24, 2005 at the age of 92. Three days later the US Senate passed a resolution to honor Parks by allowing her body to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. This marked the first time for a woman to receive this recognition.
Interested in learning more about this remarkable courageous woman?
Explore the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development Pathways to Freedom, which take students on bus tours to important civil rights and underground railroad sites.
Read her autobiography Rosa Parks: My Story published in 1948 about her life growing up in segregated South or Reflections by Rosa Parks: The Quiet Strength and Faith of a Woman Who Changed a Nation where she covers topics including topics like dealing with fear, facing injustice, developing character and determination, faith in God, and her hope for the future.
Check out the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University.
“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free ... so other people would be also free.” —Rosa Parks
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