Rosa Parks Biography | Important Life Incidents And Death

By | September 25, 2021

Rosa Parks biography can help you to learn more about some lesser-known facts about the popular civil rights activist. She became popular when she refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger, which was racially segregated for white people in Montgomery, Alabama. This defiance of the seat surrender gave rise to the Montgomery Bus Boycott movement. Furthermore, the success of this movement promoted the nationwide efforts to vanish racial segregation of the public facilities. It was the beginning of a mass protest against racial segregation. Reading Rosa Parks biography until the end can help you to learn more about the untouched aspects of her life. 

Who Was Rosa Parks? Important Aspects Of Her Life

 Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist whose refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus to a white passenger sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Her courage inspired campaigns to end racial discrimination throughout the country. Parks received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award. The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Award

Early Life and Family

Rosa Louise McCauley was born on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. Parks’ parents, James and Leona McCauley, divorced when she was two years old. Her mother relocated the family to Pine Level, Alabama, to live with Rose and Sylvester Edwards, Parks’ parents. Parks’ grandparents were strong advocates for racial equality. The family lived on Edwards’ farm, where Parks spent her young age. 

Parks’ early encounters of racial injustice and campaigning for racial equality stem from her youth. Parks’ grandfather once stood with a shotgun in front of their house as Ku Klux Klan members marched down the street. Rosa Parks biography has some of the most important incidents of her early life telling about her dominant personality traits. 

Education

Parks early education was in segregated schools. Besides, Parks attended a segregated, one-room school in Pine Level, Alabama, where she was taught to read by her mother at a young age. The basic school supplies such as desks were missing during her education. The city of Pine Level provided bus transportation and a new school building for white students, while African American students were forced to walk to the first through sixth-grade schoolhouse.

Parks began attending the city’s Industrial School for Girls in Montgomery when she was 11 years old. She dropped out of school in the 11th grade to care for her sick grandmother and mother in Pine Level, where she was attending a laboratory school for secondary education run by the Alabama State Teachers College for Negroes. Parks never went back to school. Instead, she got a job in a Montgomery shirt factory. She married in 1932 and earned her high school diploma with her husband’s support in 1933.

Marriage

Parks met and married Raymond Parks, a barber and active member of the NAACP, when she was 19 years old. Parks became strongly interested in civil rights issues after graduating from high school with Raymond’s encouragement, joining the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP in 1943 and acting as the chapter’s youth leader as well as secretary to NAACP President E.D. Nixon, a position she held until 1957. The couple didn’t have any children.

Arrest Of Rosa Parks 

Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955, after she refused to comply with a bus driver’s request that she give up her seat to a white passenger. She later explained that her rejection was motivated by a desire to stop giving in, not by physical exhaustion.

Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus for home after a long day at a Montgomery department store where she worked as a seamstress. She took a seat in the first of several rows designated for “colored” passengers. 

All public transit in Montgomery had to be segregated, and bus drivers had the “rights of a city police officer when in actual charge of any bus for the purposes of carrying out the provisions” of the code. By assigning seats to white and black passengers on a bus, drivers had to provide separate but equal accommodations.

There was a line across the bus in the centre, separating white passengers in the front from African American passengers in the back. When an African American passenger boarded the bus, they had to pay their fare at the front door, then exit and re-board at the back door.

The Controversial Bus

The bus Parks was riding started to fill up with white passengers as it went on its way. When the bus was finally packed, the driver noticed a group of white passengers standing in the aisle. The bus driver came to a complete stop and asked four black passengers to give up their seats by moving the sign dividing the two parts back one row.

The city’s bus ordinance did not grant drivers the right to force passengers to give up their seats to anyone, regardless of colour. Montgomery bus drivers, on the other hand, had followed the practise of pushing the sign dividing white and black passengers back and, if possible, telling Black passengers to give up their seats to white passengers. If the Black passenger protested, the bus driver had the authority to refuse service and could call the police to have them removed.

Three of the bus’s other Black passengers followed the driver’s orders, but Parks declined and stayed seated. “Why don’t you stand up?” the driver asked, to which Parks answered, “I don’t think I should have to stand up.” The driver reported her to the cops, who arrested her. In Rosa Parks biography, you can get to learn about her struggle after the arrest and how it changes her life. 

Montgomery Bus Boycott

On the day of Parks’ trial, December 5, 1955, members of the African American community were joining the protest of her detention by boycotting city buses. Staying at home from work or school, taking a taxi, or walking to work were all encouraged. With the majority of African Americans refusing to ride the bus, organisers were able to see  the fruitfulness of the boycott.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott, as it came to be known, was a huge success, lasting for 381 days and ending with a Supreme Court ruling declaring segregation on public transit systems to be unconstitutional. On December 1, the evening Parks was arrested, Nixon began making preparations to organise a boycott of Montgomery’s city buses. There were printing, publishing, and circulation of the Handbills in Black communities in massive form.

Protest After Her Arrest

On the morning of December 5, a group of African American leaders met at Mt. Zion Church in Montgomery to discuss tactics. They decided that their boycott effort would require a new organisation and strong leadership. The Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) came into being. Montgomery newcomer King was elected as minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. The MIA believed that Parks’ case provided an excellent opportunity to take further action to create real change.

When Parks and her attorney, Fred Gray, arrived at the courthouse for the trial that morning. There was a raucous crowd of about 500 local supporters cheering her on. Parks was guilty of violating a city ordinance and fined $10. Besides, there was an additional $4 court charge, after a 30-minute hearing.

The most important event of the day, however, was Parks’ trial. Almost all of the city’s buses were empty. Some people carpooled, and others took African American-owned taxis. However, the vast majority of the city’s estimated 40,000 African American commuters chose to walk to work that day — some as far as 20 miles. 

Death

Parks died peacefully in her Detroit apartment on October 24, 2005, at the age of 92. She had a progressive dementia the previous year. She was suffering from it since at least 2002. Rosa Parks biography covers all the important events from her life to death. 

Parks’ death was commemorated by a number of memorial services. It includes a viewing of her casket at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington. There was a huge gathering of an estimated 50,000 people. She was laid to rest in the chapel mausoleum of Detroit’s Woodlawn Cemetery, alongside her husband and mother. The chapel was renamed the Rosa L. Parks Freedom Chapel shortly after her death.

Final Words

Rosa Park biography throws light on some of the lesser-known facts about her struggle. Besides, you can get to know about her protest against racial segregation, and her life after starting the movement. If you liked reading this post, then visit our blog section to find the biographies of more legendary personalities. 

 

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