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.” Born February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama, Parks grew up when racism and discrimination was a norm in African American cultures. She made a name for herself in civil rights circles when she refused to obey a white bus driver and move to the back of the bus, so someone white could take her seat in the front of the bus. Parks’ act of defiance became a major player in the civil rights movement and caught the attention of leaders like Martin Luther King Jr.
Below we take a look at the life of Rosa Parks through a timeline of the major events in her life…
1913 – This Rosa Parks timeline starts on February 4, 1913 when Rosa Louise McCauley was born in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her parents were James McCauley, a carpenter and Schoolteacher Leona McCauley
1928 – She attends Booker T. Washington High School for ninth grade, but drops out when her grand mother becomes seriously ill and subsequently dies
1932 – December 18: Marries Raymond Parks, a barber, at 19.
1945 – WW2 ends and Rosa Parks receives her certificate for voting after three attempts
1946 – June 3: The U.S. Supreme Court banned segregation in interstate bus travel
Aug 10: Race riots occur in Athens, Alabama
1949 – Rosa and her husband Raymond work with Montgomery branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP’s) programs. Rosa Parks acts as secretary and later a youth leader
1955 – August: Rosa Parks meets Martin Luther King
November 25: The Interstate Commerce Commission bans segregation in buses and all waiting rooms involved in interstate travel
December 1: Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give her seat on the bus to a white passenger. She is arrested, fingerprinted, jailed by police and fined $14.
December 5: She stands trial and is found guilty of breaking the segregation laws.
December 5: Martin Luther King becomes the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association which was organized due to protest against the incident involving Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott begins which will last 381 days.
1956 – January: Rosa Parks loses her job as a seamstress at Montgomery Fair
December 21: The Montgomery buses are desegregated and black passengers could legally take any seat on the city’s buses
1979 – Rosa Parks receives NAACP’s Spingarn Medal
1987 – Rosa founds the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development with long time friend Elaine Eason Steele which offers guidance to young blacks
1992 – Rosa publishes her first book, “Rosa Parks My Story”
1998 – April 21: The Rosa Parks Museum and Library is opened at her arrest site in Montgomery, Alabama
September 2: The Rosa L. Parks Learning Center is opened. Rosa is also inducted into the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame
2003 – October 29: Rosa Parks is honored with the International Institute Heritage Hall of Fame Award. She is then diagnosed with progressive dementia.
2005 – October 24: Rosa Parks dies on in her Detroit home
“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.” – Rosa Parks