Rosa Parks was an American activist in the civil rights movement who was best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. With her boycott that was considered as an important symbol of the civil movement, she became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She even got a chance to organize and collaborate with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon and Martin Luther King Jr.
She even served as secretary and receptionist to John Conyers, an African-American US Representative, and was also active in the Black Power movement and the support of political prisoners in the US. Upon her death in 2005, she became the first woman and the 31st person to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.
Also, Parks was named “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement” by the United States Congress. Throughout her lifetime, Parks received more than forty-three honorary doctorate degrees and was awarded several honorable awards including Medal of Freedom, the highest award given to a citizen. She was also honored with Mrs. Rosa Parks’ Day that the state of Michigan followed, becoming the first living person to be honored with a holiday.
What was Rosa Parks Famous for?
- Famous for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott.
- Known for her honored name “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”.
Where was Rosa Parks Born?
Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama, United States. Her birth name was Rosa Louise McCauley. Her nationality was American. Parks belonged to African-American ethnicity while Aquarius was her zodiac sign.
Rosa was born in a middle-class family as the daughter of Leona(mother) and James McCauley(father). Her father, James was a carpenter while her mother, Leona was a teacher. However, her parents separated soon and Rose began living with her mother in Pine Level. She grew up on a farm with her maternal grandparents, mother, and a younger brother named Sylvester McCauley(born August 20, 1915).
One of Parks’ great-grandfathers was Scots-Irish and one of her great-grandmothers a part-Native American slave. All of her family were members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church(AME), a black denomination founded in the early 19th century.
Rosa attended rural school until she was 11, after which she joined the Industrial School for Girls in Montgomery, and began taking academic and vocational courses. She then went on to a laboratory school run by the Alabama State Teachers College for Negroes, but she dropped out in order to care for her grandmother and later her mother after they became ill.
Rosa faced several problems growing up as she along with other black students had to walk to reach school while the white ones were given the facility of transportation. Parks was repeatedly bullied by white children in her neighborhood and even had to fight physically. Besides, she even suffered poor health with chronic tonsillitis at a young age.
When Did Rosa Parks Die?
Rosa Parks died of natural causes on October 24, 2005, at the age of 92, in her apartment on the east side of Detroit, Michigan, United States. She was survived by her sister-in-law(Raymond’s sister), 13 nieces and nephews and their families, and several cousins. In her honor, City officials in Montgomery and Detroit announced that the front seats of their city buses would be reserved with black ribbons until her funeral on October 27, 2005.
Parks’ coffin was flown to Montgomery and taken in a horse-drawn hearse to the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal(AME) church, she was dressed in the uniform of a church deaconess. Parks was the 31st person and the second private person to be honored in this way, the first woman and the second black person to lie in honor in the Capitol.
An estimated 50,000 people viewed the casket there, and the event was broadcast on television on October 31, 2005. Her funeral service was seven hours long and was held on November 2, 2005, at the Greater Grace Temple Church in Detroit. Parks was interred between her husband and mother at Detroit’s Woodlawn Cemetery in the chapel’s mausoleum, which was then renamed the Rosa L. Parks Freedom Chapel in her honor.
What did Rosa Parks Do?
- Rosa Parks became active in the civil rights movement, and then joined the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP in 1943. She was even elected as secretary for the local NAACP leader Edgar Nixon at the time, which she continued till 1957.
- During her time as a secretary, she investigated the gang-rape of Recy Taylor(black women), and along with other civil rights activists they organized “The Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor”. It was also called the strongest campaign for equal justice to be seen in a decade.
- She then held a brief job at Maxwell Air Force Base, during which she got inspired by the owner as she even had mentioned that Maxwell opened her eyes.
- Parks also worked as a housekeeper and seamstress for Clifford and Virginia Durr, a white couple.
- Parks began invigorating the struggle for racial equality when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. After her act of refusing to get off the seat, she was arrested on December 1, 1955, eventually, that triggered a wave of protest and launched the Montgomery Bus Boycott by 17,000 black citizens on December 5, 1955, that lasted 381 days.
- Her quiet courageous act changed America, its view of black people and redirected the course of history.
- Parks also got a chance to work along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was appointed the spokesperson for the Bus Boycott at the time.
- In 1964, she became a deaconess in the African Methodist Episcopal Church(AME). Following year, she was appointed by Congressman John Conyers, First Congressional District of Michigan in 1965, which she continued for 23 years till 1988.
- In February 1987, she co-founded the “Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development” along with Elaine Eason Steele in honor of her husband, Raymond Parks(1903-1977).
- She was voted by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
- Parks became one of the few major people to have been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor in 1999 along with the American Red Cross.
- She also received the NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actress in the Television series, Touched by an Angel, “Black like Monica”.
- A film made on Parks titled “The Rosa Parks Story”, filmed in Montgomery, Alabama May 2001, was aired on February 24, 2002, on the CBS television network.
- Parks earned several awards including the very first Lifetime Achievement Award ever given by The Institute for Research on Women & Gender, Stanford University, Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award for peace, and she even became an International Institute Heritage Hall of fame honoree on October 29, 2003.
- On February 6, 2005, Parks received the first annual Cardinal Dearden Peace Award at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Detroit, MI.
- Parks had written altogether four books, “Rosa Parks: My Story: by Rosa Parks with Jim Haskins”, “Quiet Strength by Rosa Parks with Gregory J. Reed”, “Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialogue With Today’s Youth by Rosa Parks with Gregory J, Reed”, this book even received the NAACP’s Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work(Children’s) in 1996 and “I AM ROSA PARKS by Rosa Parks with Jim Haskins”.
Who was Rosa Parks Married to?
Rosa Parks got married to Raymond Parks in 1932. Raymond was a barber from Montgomery and was also a member of the NAACP. After getting married at 19, Rosa Parks was urged by her husband to finish her high school, during the time when less than 7% of African Americans had a high-school diploma. She completed her education graduating from Highlander Research and Education Center, Alabama State University.
Along with her husband, she became a member of the League of Women Voters. In 1945, despite the Jim Crow laws and discrimination by registrars, she succeeded in registering to vote on her third try. However, the couple never had children so they outlived their siblings. Her husband died way too earlier in 1977.
Besides, on December 21, 2004, the 49th Anniversary of the Parks’ arrest was commemorated with a Civil Rights and Hip-Hop Forum at the Franklin Settlement in Detroit, Michigan. Parks even received more than forty-three honorary doctorate degrees throughout her lifetime.
What was the Net Worth of Rosa Parks?
Rosa Parks had a difficult childhood however, after getting married to her supportive husband, she had managed to earn a few dollars working as a secretary and dressmaking. Parks even received an eviction notice from her $1,800 per month apartment for non-payment of rent at the time in 2002. Her net worth isn’t estimated yet however, it could have been in million dollars according to the time.
How Tall was Rosa Parks?
Rosa Parks was a beautiful black lady in her early 90s at the time of her death. Parks had a well maintained slim body physique with her beautiful black skin tone, black hair, and brown eyes. She had a height of 5ft. 3inches(1.60 m). With her struggle for racial equality, Parks earned several hearts and respect all over the world.