Rosa Parks Biography By Shawn Landden & Chris Bowen Table of Contents. Forward - Sage Waters Speaks ii. Introduction - An introduction to Rosa Parks iii. Timeline - Dates of major events in Rosa Parks Life 1. Chapter 1: In the Beggining - Before The Boycott 2.
Chapter 2: The Boycott Begins - It all Begins 3. Chapter 3: The Aftermath - Whats happened to Parks since iv. Bibliography - Additional Resources Forward Rosa Parks' courage to stand up for rights as a citizen of the USA inspires me to this day to stand up for the ideals of freedom & justice for all. Rosa Parks influenced many northerners & lawmakers to look squarely at the discrimination victimizing Alabama's black people, and work to correct injustice. A vital democracy requires citizen participation! The civil rights movement must continue today as immigrants, especially Arabs and Arab look-alike's are victims of prejudice. Washington Territory and Washington State were too long dominated by the Ku Klux Klan.
We need active human rights advocates today to ensure dignity for all people. Shawn Landden [& Chris Bowen]'s biography of Rosa Parks is recommended reading for all who aspire to a successful democracy today. - Sage Waters, March, 2002 Back to Top Introduction Many people know Rosa Parks. She was an important part of the Civil Rights Movement; she was arrested for not giving up her seat on a public bus to a white man when he wanted it. She was sick of being pushed around and shamelessly showed it by demanding respect. After this incident the black community started a major bus boycott.
It started as a laughable situation that was expected to stop in a few days but ended as a serious problem for the Montgomery Bus Company. For over a year, the black community would not ride the buses. This ended when the U. S. Supreme Court declared bus segregation unconstitutional. This victory, without a doubt, made all African Americans confident to continue the Civil Rights Movement.
Even before Rosa's arrest, Montgomery's black leaders had been discussing a boycott from the buses. They used her arrest as 'a spark to light the fire that is the boycott'. That is why the name Rosa Parks will be remembered for years to come. In this biography you will read about Rosa Parks' life before the boycott including her childhood, education, jobs, and ambitions. You will also learn about her life during the boycott, which will include her struggle toward her goals, and her life after the boycott, which will include her continuing work for civil rights. I hope you learn many things about Rosa Parks and her life, in this Biography, and I hope you remember the name Rosa Parks for years to come.
Back to Top Timeline February 4, 1913 Rosa McCauley born in Tuskegee Alabama 1918 Enters school in Pine Level, Alabama 1924 Begins attending school in Montgomery 1929 Leaves school to care for grandmother December 1932 Marries Raymond Parks in Pine Level 1933 Receives high school degree December 1943 Becomes secretary of NAACP 1943 Is denied after trying to register to vote 1944 Is denied once more trying to register to vote 1945 Finally receives voting certificate 1949 Advisor of NAACP Youth Council Summer 1955 Attends workshop in Highlander Folk School in Mounteagle, Tennessee for the first time August 1955 Meets Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. December 1, 1955 Arrested for not giving up her seat to a white man. December 5, 1955 Stands Trial; found guilty 1955 Attends meeting of ministers who have formed the Montgomery Improvement Association 1955 Start of Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott January 1956 Loses job at Montgomery Fair Department store February 21 1956 Re indicted for boycotting November 13 1956 Segregation on Montgomery buses declared unconstitutional by United States Supreme Court December 21 1956 Boy cotters return to buses 1957 Rosa moves to Detroit 1963 Attends Civil Rights March on Washington March 1965 Participates in Selma-to-Montgomery march 1965 Begins working for congressman John Conyers in Detroit 1977 Raymond Parks Dies 1979 Leona McCauley (Rosa's Mother) dies 1987 Founds the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development September 1988 Retires from working for John Conyers 1989 Attends dedication to Civil Right memorial in Montgomery, Alabama February 28 1991 Bust of Rosa Parks unveiled at Smithsonian Back to Top Chapter 1: In the Beggining Rosa Louise McCauley was born in Tuskegee, Alabama on February 4, 1913. Her parents were Leona Edwards and James McCauley. Her father was a carpenter.
Rosa's Mother was a teacher. This meant that Leona could home-school Rosa, which she did until Rosa was eleven. When Rosa was two, her family moved to Pine Level, Alabama and lived with her maternal grandparents. Rosa was a curious and stubborn girl who stood up to whites a lot. Of course led to trouble.
She was yelled at and threatened by white children's moms for defending herself and the only other option was to get pushed down or punched. Sylvester, Rosa's little brother was a person in Rosa's life that she cared about and protected. Protecting Sylvester from white bullies taught Rosa to protect herself as well. When she was eleven, Rosa moved to Montgomery to live with her aunt. At this point in time she was eleven so there, she started going to a school called The Montgomery Industrial school for Girls which was a private school. While she was there she cleaned classrooms for She met a friend in school of which she liked a lot.
They passed the time by talking and were found to be much alike. One day, Rosa met a man named Raymond Parks. She avoided him as much as possible for she didn't like him much. But on one afternoon, Raymond finally, got to talk to Rosa and, slowly, they got to know each other. Rosa found that he really liked Raymond Parks. After a while they decided to get married.
It was 1932 in Pine Level, Alabama that they had their weeding. Although Raymond didn't approve of it, she started working for the NAACP or National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She got a job as a secretary there and worked long shifts. She was good at this job and liked it a lot. She worked there from 1943 to 1956. It was a rainy day in 1943.
Rosa was waiting at a gloomy, dark bus stop, waiting for a bus to get home in. After a while the bus pulled up to the curb and the doors screeched open and Rosa saw a mean red faced white bus driver glaring down at her. She walked up the steps and paid her 10-cent fee. Instead of walking off the bus and getting on through the back doors she just walked straight through the white section and sat down in a black section seat. The bus driver stood up and marched over to her. He then demanded that she got off the bus, walk to the back doors and then get on.
Rosa refused and after much quarrelling, she finally got off the bus and walked home in the pouring rain. Back to Top Chapter 2: The Boycott Begins It was Thursday December 1, 1955. Rosa Parks, an innocent woman was on her way home from work riding on a segregated bus. The bus came to a stop and some white people got on. The seats started filling up until finally one man was left standing. A mean bus driver, named James Blake, looked back at Rosa and said 'let me have those front seats.' She was in the mid section of the bus, designated for both whites and blacks, depending on how full the white section was.
She did not get out of her seat, even after the bus driver repeated the demand. The bus driver then stood up and moved toward her. Although the black people across from her had obeyed orders, she scooted over to the window. When the bus driver asked her if she was going to move she stated, 'no.' He then said 'Well, I'm going to have you arrested.' Rosa said 'You may do that.' Looking back at this event, often people think of her popular statement, 'The only tired I was, was tired of giving in,' and about how she had this determined attitude to fight segregation. When she was arrested on the bus that day she recalls, 'The more we [the blacks] gave in and complied, the worse they treated us.' The NAACP (National Association of the Advancement of Colored People) Montgomery branch, which she was currently the secretary of, had been trying to find someone to use as a test case to try to change the laws and rid of racism. These test cases were cases that had gone to high courts and were used to test the laws.
If the side trying the law were to win the law being challenged would need to be revised or removed, according to the ruling. One of the people originally used to test the case of segregation on buses was Claudette Colvin. Originally, the NAACP thought that Claudette had a very good reputation and was a good citizen. The only thing she had done wrong was refuse to give up her seat.
It all went well until Claudette found out she was pregnant. (And not married) The NAACP then immediately stopped the case because they knew that the Judge, Jury and defense would call her a 'bad girl' and the case wouldn't go well. Another possible candidate that year was Louise Smith, but she was disregarded because she gave up to easily by just paying her fine and leaving. Rosa was put as a candidate later for the same reasons as Claudette. Later the Woman's political council decided to organize boycott of the Montgomery city buses.
They then made thirty-five thousand (35, 000) handbills which would be distributed to black schools so students could take them home to their parents. They also passed the word by calling many pastors to give the word at their sermons and got cab drivers to only charge the bus fare of 10 c instead of their regular fare of 45 c. The handbill said: This is for Monday, December 5, 1955 Another Negro woman has been arrested and thrown into jail because she refused to up out of her seat on the bus and give it to a white person. It is the second time since the Claudette Colvin case that a Negro woman has been arrested for the same thing. This has to be stopped. Negroes have rights, too, for if Negroes did not ride the buses, they could not operate.
Three-fourths of the riders are Negroes, yet we are arrested, or have to stand over empty seats. If we do not do something to stop these arrested, they will continue. The next time it may be you, or your daughter, or mother. This woman's case will come up on Monday. We are, therefore, asking every Negro to stay off the buses Monday in protest of the arrest and trial. Don't ride the buses to work, to town, to school, or anywhere on Monday.
You can afford to stay out of school for one day. If you work, take a cab, or walk. But please, children and grown-ups, don't ride the bus at all on Monday. Please stay off all buses on Monday. On Monday the boycott had begun. In the beginning, nearly all blacks stayed off the buses.
Only a few blacks got on the buses, but then got off after they saw no other blacks were riding. The first day of boycott had become a success. It was successful mainly because of its wide publication, being put in a handbill and being talked about in so many churches. It also went well because of the participation of the cab drivers and the stress that had been put on the blacks of Montgomery through mistreatment and Segregation.
One thing that the city commissioners and bus company hated was how many white women started bus sing their maids to their houses when the boycott started. In an attempt to stop the white women from bus sing their maids, anonymous letters like the fallowing were sent to locals. Also, the city governor strongly encouraged the ladies to stop supporting the boycott in this way. That same day many NAACP Montgomery branch members and many ministers got together and formed the MIA or Montgomery Improvement Association. This new association was formed because the NAACP's reputation was bad in the eyes of the whites.
Having a new association, without a reputation, would benefit the success of the trial and the boycott. Martin Luther King Jr. , at that time, a little known priest new to the community, was elected president. He was a good choice for a president because of his wonderful charisma and at that time he hadn't yet formed a reputation with the association or others in the community. That day Rosa did not go to work.
Instead she went to her trial at the courthouse with her husband Raymond Parks. Many people were there and Parks couldn't get in until he told them that he was Rosa's husband. Rosa's defense attorneys made sure they would loose their case so they could appeal the judges decision to a higher court. Laws could only be changed in higher courts. The same day, at 7: 00 PM, there was a mass meeting at the Holt Street Baptist Church to decide if the boycott should continue. Martin Luther King Jr.
made a speech that was very popular with the blacks. Rosa did not speak there, but after much debate they decided the boycott would continue. Meanwhile, the MIA put three demands on the table. These demands were: 1.
Courteous treatment on the busses 2. First-come, first-served seating arrangement, with whites in the front and blacks in the back 3. Hiring of black drivers for the black bus routes When the bus company heard these demands they wouldn't even admit that bus drivers were discourteous and therefore, there was no point in the hiring of drivers. They also said that a first-come, first-served seating arrangement was against Alabama's segregation laws (which contradicted a law that stated that a black person on a bus could only be told to get out of her seat if there was another empty seat on the bus for them to move to) The city commissioners wouldn't give to the demands either, Even if they were reasonable.
Nobody knew how long the boycott would last, and many people thought it couldn't last, but last it did. It went on and on, for 1 year and 16 days to be exact. And it didn't stop because everybody just gave up, but stopped when justice was triumphed! After Rosa's case was completely thrown out of court on a technicality, her conviction was upheld. Fred Gray filed suit in the district court that bus segregation was unconstitutional. It was filed on the behalf of five women, two of whom had been arrested; Claudette and Rosa, and the other three woman, including Claudette's mother. This case was filed in early February.
On November 13, 1956, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation on the Montgomery buses was unconstitutional. Dr. King held a mass meeting to tell the news, but told the people to stick to the boycott until the paperwork was returned from the Supreme Court.
This was because the court order that the bus segregation was unconstitutional was not yet official. On December 20, 1956, the official written order came from the Supreme Court. On December 21, Martin Luther King Jr. and many other blacks showed off riding in the first unsegregated busses. Although many people thought Rosa was with them, she was not, she stayed home that day but the reporters supposedly knew where she lived because they came to her house and had her get on and off buses repeatedly so they could take pictures. The boycott had gone from December 5, 1955, to December 12, 1956, for more than one year.
The Civil Rights Movement had begun. Back to Top Chapter 3: The Aftermath Not long after the Montgomery bus boycott Rosa and her husband, Raymond Parks, moved to Detroit, Michigan, because they were concerned for their safety. Also Rosa's brother, Sylvester, was concerned for their safety and already was living in Detroit. In 1965, U.
S. Representative John Conyers, of Michigan, asked Rosa if she would work in his office. She accepted the offer and began work on March 1, 1965, as a receptionist and office assistant. Her job included finding housing for homeless people and other such tasks. She retired from his office in September of 1988. Rosa's husband, Raymond Parks, died from cancer in 1957.
In honor him of his life, Rosa and Elaine Steele, a close friend, founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development in February of 1987. Rosa envisioned that this institute would be a community-centered environment that would offer programs for youth to help them continue their education and have hopes for the future. The institute also takes students on historical walks through such places as the Underground Railroad. The institute also offers classes with report to historical research on the continent of Africa. Finally, this institute offers classes and workshops for self-improvement, things such as better reading comprehension levels especially in regards to personal growth. Many times in Rosa's life she has been invited to speak at special events.
Rosa accepts these honors in hopes of spreading hope to a desegregated world. She also hates to say "no" to speaking at invitations for engagements when she knows it may do others good. Although Rosa says that it would be impossible to come up with a complete list of people and cities that have honored her, there are a few she holds close to her heart. One of these was when Cleveland Avenue, the road she was on when she was arrested for not giving up her seat to a white man, was renamed Rosa Parks Boulevard. Her name was also advertised when 12 th street in Detroit, was also renamed Rosa Parks Boulevard, in 1975. In November of 1989 a sculpture was erected by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Maya Lin, the same person who created the Vietnam War Memorial, in Washington, D. C. , had designed this sculpture. Etched into this sculpture were the names of forty men and women who had been killed in the civil rights movement. On the rock there also lies these words from Dr. King:" ...
until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Rosa was there when this memorial was established. Rosa still lives on today, traveling more and working with her institute, the Rosa and Raymond Parks institute for Self Development, in hopes of sharing her mission with the world. Back to Top Bibliography Internet " Rosa Parks: The Woman Who Changed a Nation" web [Online] 28 March 2002"The Life of Rosa Parks" web [Online] 30 March 2002"Rosa and Raymond Parks: Our history" web 30 March 2002"Rosa and Raymond Parks: Programs" web 30 March 2002 Books Rosa Lee Parks with Jim Haskins Rosa Parks: My Story Broadway, New York, NY Scholastic Inc. (c) 1992 by Rosa Parks Encyclopedia " Parks, Rosa Lee" World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia.
Chicago: World Book: CD-ROM. (c) 2000.