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Facts about Rosa Parks for Kids

Gathered by: John Henshaw

  • Rosa Parks was an African-American civil rights activist, whom the U.S. Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”.
  • Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation.
  • Others had taken similar steps in the twentieth century, including Irene Morgan in 1946, Sarah Louise Keys in 1955, and the members of the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit arrested months before Parks.
  • NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws though eventually her cased became bogged down in the state courts.
  • Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement.
  • In 1999, a lawsuit was filed on her behalf against Outkast and LaFace Records due to their unauthorized use of her name in their 1998 song, “Rosa Parks”.
  • Parks received national recognition, including the NAACP’s 1979 Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.
  • Parks and other civil rights activists organized the “Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor,” launching what the Chicago Defender called “the strongest campaign for equal justice to be seen in a decade.”
  • According to the law, no passenger would be required to move or give up his seat and stand if the bus was crowded and no other seats were available.
  • She then moved to her seat but driver James F. Blake told her to follow city rules and enter the bus again from the back door.
  • Near the middle of the bus, her row was directly behind the ten seats reserved for white passengers.
  • Edgar Nixon, president of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP and leader of the Pullman Union, and her friend Clifford Durr bailed Parks out of jail the next evening.
  • Its members elected as their president Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, a relative newcomer to Montgomery, who was a young and mostly unknown minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.
  • Later that year, at the urging of her brother and sister-in-law in Detroit, Michigan, Sylvester and Daisy McCauley, Rosa and Raymond Parks, and her mother moved north to join them.
  • On February 4, to celebrate Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday, the Henry Ford Museum declared the day a “National Day of Courage” with 12 hours of virtual and on-site activities featuring nationally recognized speakers, musical and dramatic interpretative performances, a panel presentation of Rosa’s Story and a reading of the tale Quiet Strength.
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