Rosa Louise Parks was a civil rights leader born in Tuskegee, Alabama. In 1955 she was arrested for violating segregation laws when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger.
This resulted in a boycott of the bus system by blacks, with Martin Luther King, Jr. leading the movement. In spite of harassment the boycott continued, and in 1956 segregated seating was challenged in a federal law suit. Parks’ personal history has been lost in the retelling of the event. Prior to her arrest, Mrs. Parks had a firm and quiet strength to change things that were unjust.
She served as secretary of the NAACP and later Advisor to the NAACP Youth Council, and tried to register to vote on several occasions when it was still nearly impossible to do so. She had run-ins with bus drivers and was evicted from buses. Forty years later, despite tremendous gains, Parks feels that we still have a long way to go in improving race relations in this country. Rosa Parks, now 83 years old spends most of her year in Detroit but winters in Los Angeles. She is still active in fighting racial injustices, now standing up for what she believes in and sharing her message with others. She and other members of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Developing have a special program called Pathways to Freedom, for young people age 11-18.
Children in the program travel across the country tracing the Underground Railroad, visiting the scenes of critical events in the civil rights movement and learning aspects of America’s history. Among her accomplishments include NAACP’s Spingarn Medal and the Martin Luther King Jr. Award. She truly is a great role model for todays African Americans. .