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Rosa Louise Parks, a prime mover in changing the course of American history, sparked the modern civil rights movement in 1955 when she courageously refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus to a white man when ordered to do so by the bus driver. Her act triggered a wave of protest that reverberated throughout the United States. A seamstress by profession, Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913, to Leona and James McCauley in Tuskegee, Alabama. Rosa Parks died on October 24, 2005, in Detroit, her home since 1957.
At this point in the presentation is an image of: Rosa Parks on a Montgomery bus on December 21, 1956, the day Montgomery’s public transportation system was legally integrated. Sitting behind Rosa Parks is Nicholas C. Chriss, a United Press International reporter covering the event.
“Her legacy includes the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision that ended segregation in schools just over 50 years ago, and her memory continues to inspire us today.”
Jack O’Connell State Superintendent of Public Instruction
At this point in the presentation is an image of: Speaker of the California Assembly Willie L. Brown Jr. leads a ceremony in 1995 to honor Rosa Parks’ contributions (with Jack O'Connell and then U.S. Senator Gwendolynne S. Moore, D-Wisconsin).
Rosa Parks’s activism started after she married Raymond Parks in 1932. The couple volunteered their services to help with voter registration and raised money in defense of the Scottsboro boys: nine young African American men who were pulled off a train, falsely accused, and found guilty of raping two white women in 1931.
Her refusal to give up her seat on the bus nearly 50 years ago captivated the nation and helped propel a young preacher, Martin Luther King Jr., into the spotlight after he was drafted to head the Montgomery Improvement Association that led the boycott of public buses.
At this point in the presentation is an image of: Rosa Parks in 1955 (with Martin Luther King Jr. in the background)
Rosa Parks and Elaine Eason Steele co-founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development in February 1987 in honor of Raymond Parks, who died from cancer in 1977.
At this point in the presentation is an image of: Raymond Parks, the late husband of Rosa Parks
“Now American men, women, and children of all races can live in equality and without fear, and we owe our eternal gratitude to everyday heroes like Rosa Parks who helped to free society from the oppressive vise of discrimination.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger Governor of California
At this point in the presentation is an image of a: Police report on Rosa Parks, December 1, 1955, page 1
Her act of defiance on December 1, 1955, reflected a strength and bravery that belied her calm, dignified demeanor. For refusing to give up her seat, Rosa Parks was arrested, convicted of violating the segregation laws, and fined $10 plus $4 in court fees.
At this point in the presentation is an image of a: Police report on Rosa Parks, December 1, 1955, page 2
On the day of Rosa Parks’s trial, Monday, December 5, 1955, the Women’s Political Council distributed 35,000 leaflets urging blacks to boycott Montgomery public buses.
In the end, the boycott lasted for 381 days. Dozens of public buses stood idle for months, severely damaging the bus transit company’s finances, until the law requiring segregation on public buses was lifted.
In 1956 the Parks case led to the United States Supreme Court ruling that segregated public bus service was unconstitutional.
“Our mistreatment was just not right, and I was tired of it.”
At this point in the presentation is a collage of images of Rosa Parks
Following the bus boycott, Raymond and Rosa Parks moved to Detroit out of concern for her well-being in the wake of death threats and the bombing of churches and houses, including those of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and E. D. Nixon, president of the Montgomery NAACP Branch and close adviser to Rosa Parks. She became a secretary and receptionist to U.S. Representative John Conyers Jr., a position she continued in until her retirement in 1988.
At this point in the presentation is an image of John Conyers Jr.
U.S. Representative (D-Michigan)
At this point in the presentation is an image of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. are pictured with U.S. Representative John Conyers Jr. and the Reverend W. L. Fauntroy.
“America lost a living legend; and I, along with countless others, lost a friend.”
John Conyers Jr.
Rosa Parks received numerous awards, including the 1979 NAACP Spingarn Medal, which is given for outstanding achievement by an African American. Other awards she won include the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1996), the Congressional Gold Medal (1999), and the Martin Luther King Jr. Award. She was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1983 for her achievements in civil rights. She received the Rosa Parks Peace Prize in 1994 in Stockholm, Sweden.
After she passed away, Rosa Parks lay in repose in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Sunday, October 30, 2005, and from Monday to Wednesday morning at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan. The funeral was held on Wednesday, November 2, 2005, at the Greater Grace Temple Church.
At this point in the presentation is an image of: President George W. Bush and Laura Bush present the Executive Branch Wreath during a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of Rosa Parks.
At this point in the presentation is an image of: Thousands of people passed by the remains of Rosa Parks, the first woman to be honored by lying in the Capitol Rotunda.
“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.”
At this point in the presentation is an image of Rosa Parks at a ceremony where she was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal on June 15, 1999.
At this point in the presentation is an image of: President George W. Bush is seen Thursday, December 1, 2005, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., as he signs House Resolution 4145 to direct the Joint Committee on the Library to obtain a statue of Rosa Parks that will be placed in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. The President is joined by, from left to right, U.S. Senator Richard G. Lugar, R-Indiana; U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson; First Lady Laura Bush; U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Illinois; U.S. Senator John Kerry, D-Massachusetts; and U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi.
At this point in the presentation is an image of: The Rosa Parks Congressional Gold Medal bears the legend “Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement.”
“I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.”
At this point in the presentation is a collage of images of Rosa Parks.
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