Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was born on February 4, 1913, in Tuskeegee, Alabama. On December 1, 1955, she was cast into the center of the fledgling civil rights movement when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white passenger. She was arrested and jailed for her act of civil disobedience. Although she was not the first to be arrested for defying bus segregation, where white passengers were given preference to sit up front, civil rights organizers felt she was a good candidate to challenge current law. Her arrest and the subsequent Montgomery Bus Boycott were integral to the civil rights movement and helped to bring a dark period of our Nation into the light.
Mrs. Parks had been active for some time in the civil rights movement and chose to be the “guinea pig” by being arrested, purposefully, as a private citizen. She worked for the NAACP at the time. She was fired from her job as a seamstress and, in later years, moved to Detroit. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal for her bravery (if you don’t think it took guts to stand up to the white authority in 1955, look at this).
Although we have come a long way since 1955, we continue to straggle behind other countries in some aspects of race relations and equality. Rosa Parks, who lived a quiet life and passed away on October 24, 2005 at the age of 92, is an inspiration to all of us. Her light continues to shine on inequality.