Acknowledging the 100th Birthday of Rosa L. Parks

Rosa L. Parks

Many this week have acknowledged the birthday of Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, an American, who was born February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama, U.S.A. She would have been 100 years old on February 4, 2013, this past Monday. She died on October 24, 2005 at the age 92 in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

This African-American female civil rights activist was called “the first lady of civil rights” by the U.S. Congress; and “the mother of the freedom movement.”

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake’s order that she give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation. Others had taken similar steps in the twentieth century, including Irene Morgan in 1946, Sarah Louise Keys in 1955, and the members of the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit (Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith) arrested months before Parks.

NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws though eventually her cased became bogged down in the state courts.

Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement.

Her husband, Raymond Parks, pre-deceased her. He was born in 1932 and died in 1977.