Rosa Parks
February 4, 1913 - October 24, 2005

Rosa Louise McCauley was born in Tuskegee, Alabama to James McCauley, a carpenter, and Leona McCauley, a teacher. When Rosa was 2 years old she moved with her mother and younger brother to Pine Level, Alabama to live with her grandparents. When Rosa was a young girl she would sometimes hear men from the Klu Klux Klan ride past her house and into the night. The Klu Klux Klan was an organization of people who did not like black people very much. Black people like Rosa and her family did not have many civil rights and had to be careful not to anger people who were members of the Klan.

When Rosa was 11 she attended a private school called Montgomery Industrial School for Girls. After graduating from high school Rosa attended the Alabama State Teachers College. She then settled in Montgomery, Alabama with her husband, Raymond Parks. Rosa and Raymond joined a group called the NAACP; the group tried to improve the civil rights of black people in Montgomery. During this time Rosa worked as a seamstress.

On December 1, 1955 Rosa was riding the bus. She was told to give her seat to a white man and was arrested when she refused to do so. Rosa decided to fight the segregation order in court. When she lost her court case, Rosa and other people, who thought the laws against blacks were unfair, decided to stop riding the Montgomery busses. Many black people joined the boycott and also refused to ride the busses. Black people lost their jobs and were threatened, but they did not ride the busses until the Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation laws were unfair. Many people think that Rosa Parks was very brave to stand up for her civil rights. In fact, Rosa Parks is often called the, "mother of the civil rights movement."

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Please note: Sadly, Rosa Parks passed away on October 24, 2005. Read her obituary at the Buffalo State African American Studies site.

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