Monday, October 24, 2005

Rosa Parks: 1913-2005

Rosa Parks, the Alabama seamstress whose refusal to sit down on a Montgomery bus sparked a year-long boycott that is considered the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, has died.

The above is from "Rosa Parks dead at 92" (Defenders News Service, The Chicago Defender).

From Bree Fowler's "Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks Dies at 92" (Associated Press):

The Montgomery, Ala., seamstress, an active member of the local chapter of the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People'
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was riding on a city bus Dec. 1, 1955, when a white man demanded her seat.
Mrs. Parks refused, despite rules requiring blacks to yield their seats to whites. Two black Montgomery women had been arrested earlier that year on the same charge, but Mrs. Parks was jailed. She also was fined $14.
Speaking in 1992, she said history too often maintains "that my feet were hurting and I didn't know why I refused to stand up when they told me. But the real reason of my not standing up was I felt that I had a right to be treated as any other passenger. We had endured that kind of treatment for too long."
Her arrest triggered a 381-day boycott of the bus system organized by a then little-known Baptist minister, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who later earned the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.
"At the time I was arrested I had no idea it would turn into this," Mrs. Parks said 30 years later. "It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in."
The Montgomery bus boycott, which came one year after the
U.S. Supreme Court's landmark declaration that separate schools for blacks and whites were "inherently unequal," marked the start of the modern civil rights movement.

From Cassandra Spratling's "Rosa Parks, civil rights heroine, is dead" (Detroit Free Press):

This gentle giant, whose quietness belied her toughness, became the catalyst for a movement that broke the back of legalized segregation in the United States, gave rise to the astounding leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and inspired fighters for freedom and justice throughout the world.
Parks, the beloved mother of the civil rights movement, is dead, a family member confirmed late Monday.
But already it's evident that her spirit lives in hundreds of thousands of people inspired by her unwavering commitment to work for a better world - a commitment that continued even after age and failing health slowed her in the 1990s.

From Jannell McGrew's "Parks' quiet courage helped change the world" (Montgomery Advertiser):

"She's gone, but she has left her footprints on the sands of time," said local civil rights activist Johnnie Carr, a close friend of Parks, after hearing the news of her death Monday. "What she did contributed so much to the success of whatever we did in trying to break down the segregated rules and regulations we had in the community and the world."

Parks was selected by Time as one of the 100 Most Important People of the Century.

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