Rosa Parks is remembered as the "first lady of the civil rights movement" in the United States.
Rosa Louise McCauley was born February 4th, 1913 to James McCauley and Leona Edwards in Tuskegee, Alabama. She was frail and experienced poor health as a child. She came from mixed racial ancestry, with one of her great grandparents being of Scottish/Irish descent. In the Deep South at the time she was considered non-white, making her subject to Jim Crow laws. Her parents divorced when she was young and Rosa grew up with her mother and grandparents. The family moved to Pine Level, Alabama when Rosa was young and she attended elementary school there. After finishing at Pine Level, Rosa attended Montgomery Industrial School for Girls, and later attended Alabama State Teacher's College High School. Her grandmother's death prevented her from graduating with her class.
December 18, 1932, Rosa married Raymond Parks in Montgomery, Alabama. The couple never had children. Two years after their marriage, Rosa finally got her diploma, which had been further delayed by her mother's illness. Rosa worked as a seamstress and Raymond was a barber.
Influenced by the KKK riding past her home and her school having been burned down twice when she was a child, Rosa grew up with her grandfather regularly standing guard in front of their house with a shotgun and her often joining him. There was much injustice in her life. She became very tired of having to give in and let others take her liberty away. About her famous stand on the bus, she is quoted as saying "All I was doing was trying to get home from work."
Her husband, Raymond, was an active member in the NAACP. This led to Rosa's participation in the organization. In 1943, she became the secretary of the Montgomery chapter, and later a youth leader. December 1, 1955, Rosa's famous incident on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama occurred. She refused to sit at the back of the bus and give up her seat to a Caucasian man. The event inspired protest events around the country. In Montgomery, there was a bus boycott that lasted 381 days. Dr. Martin Luther King was spokesperson for the boycott.
Rose Parks Arrest Booking Photo
Rosa lost her job amid the boycott in Montgomery and received death threats. She and Raymond moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1957, after a brief tour of the country, and was active in the local African Methodist Episcopal church. She worked for Congressman John Conyers from 1965 to 1988 helping homeless find housing. In 1987, she founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. The organization was founded in honor of her husband, Raymond, and works to help youth achieve their fullest potential. She also wrote four books, all autobiographical.
Rosa received at least 43 honorary doctorate degrees, as well as many awards, certificates, plaques, and honors. In 1996, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton. She received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1999.
Rosa Parks died October 24th, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan. She had been battling dementia and poor health, and had suffered financial difficulty. Rosa is buried in the Rosa Parks Memorial Mausoleum, Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan.
Both Rosa's birthday, February 4, and the day she was arrested, December 1, are commemorated as Rosa Parks Day in California and Ohio. The first Monday after February 4th is Rosa Parks Day in Michigan. A museum and library was opened in her honor in Montgomery, Alabama.
↑ 1.01.1 Wikipedia contributors, "Rosa Parks," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Wikipedia:Rosa Parks (accessed December 22, 2016).
↑ 5.05.1 "United States Social Security Death Index," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V3TF-JNL : 20 May 2014), Rosa Louise Parks, 24 Oct 2005; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
↑ 6.06.1 Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 07 December 2018), memorial page for Rosa Parks (4 Feb 1913–24 Oct 2005), Find A Grave: Memorial #12149998, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .
↑ 7.07.17.2 "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MXDH-53Q : accessed 22 December 2016), Rosa Mccauley in household of Sylvester Edwards, Pine Level, Montgomery, Alabama, United States; citing ED 120, sheet 4A, line 2, family 60, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 36; FHL microfilm 1,820,036.
"United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK4V-WP66 : 22 July 2016), Rosa Louise Parks Mccauley, Bellevue, Washington, United States, 25 Oct 2005; from "Recent Newspaper Obituaries (1977 - Today)," database, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : 2014); citing King County Journal, born-digital text.
"United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVT4-X4QX : 10 September 2016), Rosa Louise Mccauley in entry for Raymond Parks, Long Island, New York, United States, 25 Oct 2005; from "Recent Newspaper Obituaries (1977 - Today)," database, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : 2014); citing Newsday, born-digital text.