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Black History Calendar
Arrested for Not Giving up Her Bus Seat to a White Man
On December 1, 1955, a Montgomery, Alabama, bus driver ordered Mrs. Parks to give up her seat to a white man. When she refused, she was arrested and fined. Mrs. Parks had been the secretary of the Montgomery, Alabama, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and was a tailor's assistant at the Montgomery Fair department store. Other local women were also arrested for violating segregation laws, including Aurelia S. Browder, Susie McDonald, Claudette Colvin, and Mary Louise Smith.
Mrs. Parks' arrest resulted in thousands of leaflets being distributed, calling for a boycott of city buses on Monday, December 5, 1955. That same day, Mrs. Parks was convicted of violating local segregation laws and was fined $14. After negotiations between Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the city of Montgomery failed, the bus boycott was extended, and eventually lasted for 381 days. Carpools were organized as temporary transportation, and many people simply walked long distances to work every day. Dr. King and 89 others were arrested (March 19, 1956), tried, and convicted (March 22, 1956) for conspiring to conduct the bus boycott.
On February 1, 1956, the MIA (the Montgomery Improvement Association, which was formed after Mrs. Parks' arrest and led by Dr. King) filed suit in the United States District Court to challenge the constitutionality of local bus segregation laws. The U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the MIA (in June, 1956), but the city challenged that ruling and it went on to the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court Ruling
On November 13, 1956, the US Supreme Court ruled that segregation on city buses is unconstitutional. The defendants were represented by the lawyers Thurgood Marshall (who later became the first African-American on the Supreme Court), Robert L. Carter, Fred D. Gray and Charles D. Langford. The implementation of the Supreme Court's decision, the desegregation of buses, took place on December 20, 1956. Mrs. Parks had finally won.
Continuing the Civil Rights Movement
In 1957, after receiving many death threats, Mrs. Parks and her husband, Raymond Parks, moved from Alabama to to Detroit, Michigan. They later founded the "Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development", which helps young African-Americans develop leadership skills to improve the community and learn about the civil rights movement. Mrs. Parks wrote her autobiography, called "Quiet Strength," which was published in 1994. In 1999, she received the Congressional Gold Medal.
After her death, on October 24, 2005, Mrs. Rosa Parks lay in state in the US Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., to honor her pivotal role in US history. She was the first woman and the second African-American to be given that honor (the first African-American to lie in state in the US Capitol Rotunda was Jacob J. Chestnut, a police officer who was killed in a 1998 Capitol shooting).
A Printable Worksheet
A printable worksheet on Rosa Parks, who sued to protest segregation on city buses in Montgomery, Alabama. The printout has information on Rosa Parks, questions, and a picture to color. Answers: 1. She refused to give up her seat to a white man, 2. Alabama, 3. buses, 4. Martin Luther King, Jr., 5. segregation.
Rosa Parks Comprehenion Quiz
Take a multiple choice quiz on Rosa Parks' historic life. Or go to the answers.
Cloze Printout (A Fill-in-the-Blanks Activity)
A printable, fill-in-the-blanks worksheet on Rosa Parks. Or go to the answers.
Rosa Parks Crossword Puzzle
Solve a crossword puzzle based on Rosa Parks' life. Or go to the answers.
How Would You Improve the World:
What would you do to improve the world? Think of actions you could take to help make the world a better place.
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