Black History Month: Civil Rights Leader Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was a legendary civil rights leader and a key player in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which led to the desegregation of public buses in Montgomery in 1965.

Although Ms. Parks is a well-recognized activist, here are three things that you may not have known about her as according to

  • When Rosa refused to give up her seat, it wasn’t the first time she’d faced down driver James Blake. 12 years before, she had left his bus rather than getting off and entering again through the back door after she’d paid at  the front, another rule of bus segregation.


  • The bus was a special symbol of inequality for Rosa. When she was a child, she had watched white children riding a bus to their school while she and her classmates had to walk to school.


  • Rosa wasn’t the first African American to refuse to give up her seat during the Jim Crow era. High school student Claudette Colvin was arrested nine months before Rosa’s stand. With the legal support of the NAACP, she and four other women sued the bus system in federal court. While working for the NAACP, Rosa was very much involved in the case.

Here are a few of the most riveting quotes by the activist:

“The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

“I do the very best I can to look upon life with optimism and hope and looking forward to a better day, but I don’t think there is anything such as complete happiness. It pains me that there is still a lot of Klan activity and racism. I think when you say you’re happy, you have everything that you need and everything that you want, and nothing more to wish for. I haven’t reached that stage yet.”