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Rosa Parks

Rosa ParksAKA Rosa Louise McCauley

Born: 4-Feb-1913
Birthplace: Tuskegee, AL
Died: 24-Oct-2005
Location of death: Detroit, MI
Cause of death: Natural Causes
Remains: Buried, Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit, MI

Gender: Female
Religion: Methodist
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Activist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Wouldn't sit in the back of the bus

On 1 December 1955, Rosa Parks had just finished her shift as a department store seamstress, and she was exhausted. When the bus came, she paid her fare and took a seat, and when the driver announced that blacks had to get up so whites could sit down, Rosa Parks said no. That was the law, but she wasn't the first black passenger to say no. She wasn't the first to be tossed off the bus and arrested. Rosa Parks, though, was happily married, gainfully employed, attractive but serious, and a member of the NAACP -- a perfect combination to get the world's attention. 35,000 flyers were mimeographed overnight, and the next morning Montgomery's blacks began boycotting the bus company.

Parks was quickly fired. Very few blacks rode the bus after that, and many rode mules or got very sore feet. Black cabbies picked up black passengers for 10 (the same fare the bus company charged), and found their insurance canceled. Martin Luther King made speeches, and his house was firebombed. Two white men, Raymond D. York and Sonny Kyle Livingston, confessed to the bombing, but were acquitted anyway. Other whites spoke out against the violence, and it eventually subsided. Fifty-five weeks after the boycott began, the Supreme Court ruled that since blacks and whites paid the same fare, they had the same right to a seat, and on 20 December 1956, Mrs. Parks paid her 10 and sat wherever she pleased.

Father: James McCauley (carpenter, teacher)
Mother: Leona Edwards McCauley (teacher, d. 1990)
Brother: Sylvester McCauley (b. 1915, auto production line worker)
Husband: Raymond Parks (barber, NAACP staffer, m. 1932, d. 1977)

    University: Alabama State College

    Academy of Achievement (1995)
    Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
    Spingarn Medal 1979
    Congressional Gold Medal
    Presidential Medal of Freedom 1996
    National Women's Hall of Fame
    Disorderly Conduct Montgomery, AL (1-Dec-1955)
    Died Intestate
    Lain in state at the Capitol Rotunda
    Risk Factors: Tonsillitis, Pacemaker

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