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    Rosa Parks (1913-2005) refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, AL in 1955. Her civil disobedience was the catalyst for the Montgomery Bus Boycott and led Rosa Parks to be proclaimed "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement" by the United States Congress. People, people

  • Enslow Publishers, Inc.

    In Montgomery, Alabama, segregation was a way of life for African Americans. Rosa Parks, riding the bus after a long day of work, was tired of it. When the bus driver demanded Parks leave her seat for a white man, she refused. The police arrested her. Her courage ignited a boycott of Montgomery’s buses, one of the great protests that sparked the Civil Rights Movement. Through dramatic primary source photographs, author David Aretha explores this pivotal moment in American history.

  • Marsha Dubrow

    Rosa Parks, Rosa Parks centennial, Civil Rights, Civil Rights Movement, Mother of Civil Rights, Montgomery bus boycott, Martin Luther King, Martin Luther King Jr., Segregation, Racial segregation, Black History Month, African American History Month, African Americans, Barack Obama, President Obama, National Archives, Emancipation Proclamation, Civil War art, Winslow Homer, Smithsonian, Smithsonian American Art Museum, slavery, blacks, slaves, Free exhibits in DC, DC tourism, Marsha Dubrow

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Rosa Parks...Civil Rights heroine Rosa Parks touched off the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott by refusing to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger. Parks was arrested for civil disobedience but not without becoming an influential symbol for racial equality. Her court case served as step towards ending segregation laws in the south.

Rosa Parks changed the world because she didn’t give up her seat and would not get off of the bus, she went to jail. She kind of showed them that white people and black people were equal with some of the help of Martin Luther King Jr. She was called “the mother of the modern day civil rights movement, ”

While most people remember Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, they forget that the Montgomery Bus Boycott succeeded because of the participation of tens of thousands of ordinary people. These women and men risked their lives and jobs to keep the boycott alive. Many, like this woman, walked instead of riding the segregated buses.

Rosa Parks (02/04/13 - 10/24/05): Civil Rights Activist; dubbed "the first lady of civil rights"and "the mother of the freedom movement by Congress

Claudette Colvin: b. 1939; Claudette Colvin is a pioneer of the African-American civil rights movement. In 1955, she was the first person arrested for resisting bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, preceding the better known Rosa Parks incident by nine months. Montgomery's black leaders did not publicize Colvin's effort for long because she was a teenager and became an unmarried mother. Given the social norms of the time, the NAACP leaders worried about using her to represent their movement.

No one ever said "CHEEEZE"!

Faces of emancipation: 1860 to 1880

American pacifist James Zwerg after being beaten by a mob in Montgomery, Alabama in 1960 as part of the Freedom Riders. Zwerg volunteered to leave the bus first upon arriving in Montgomery, knowing he’d be the blunt of the violent crowd’s aggression. He would have died that day if an anonymous black man hadn’t stepped in and saved his life by deflecting the mob’s attention to himself.