" I had felt for a long time, that if I was ever told to get up so a white person could sit, that I would refuse to do so."
Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her mother, Leona Edwards McCauley, was a school teacher and her father, James McCauley, was a carpenter and a housebuilder. She also had a younger brother named Sylvester. Rosa and her brother worked every day on her grandparents' farm. In the fall, they picked cotton.
When Rosa was young, the "Jim Crow" laws were put in effect. Rosa hated these laws and was against them her whole life. At a young age her mother taught her to read with her school teaching skills. As she grew older , Rosa fell in love with Raymond Parks, a barber and a man active in the struggle for rights of African Americans. She later married him. In the early 1940's, Rosa joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). After being involved in the association she was elected secretary of the branch in Montgomery.
African Americans were only allowed to sit in the middle or back of the bus. This made Rosa mad. One day in 1955, Rosa was coming home from work when she took a seat in the middle section of the bus. After a few stops, many white people were on the bus and she was told to give up her seat, for there were white people standing. She refused to move. Rosa knew it was a law in Montgomery, but she did not like it and she was not going to move without a fight. James Blake, the driver of the bus, called the police and she was arrested.
On December 5, Rosa went to court and was found guilty. She was fined ten dollars plus the court costs. Blacks then boycotted and would not ride a bus anywhere in Montgomery no matter how important the date was. This boycott lasted for more than a year. White people did not like this boycott and bombed many blacks' homes. Finally on December 21, the boycott ended. Rosa Parks is often called the Mother of the Civil Rights movement. It is now against the law to discriminate any place any time. During Rosa's lifetime she has won many awards and is still thought of as a great person.
To find out more about Rosa Parks, try these great websites!!
Biography of Rosa Parks
National Women's Hall of Fame: Rosa Parks
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