27 October 2005

R.I.P. Rosa


Parks, Rosa Lee 1913 — 2005, American civil-rights activist, b. Tuskegee, Ala. A seamstress and long-time member of the Montgomery, Ala., chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), her Dec. 1, 1955, refusal to give up a seat on a municipal bus to a white man provided the impetus for the Montgomery bus boycott. This successful protest, which lasted just over a year, marked the emergence of Martin Luther King, Jr., to national prominence as a civil-rights leader and fixed the model for future nonviolent movement actions. In 1957, Parks moved to Detroit, where she remained active in the civil-rights movement. She was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress's highest honor, in 1999.

See her autobiography (1992); biography by D. Brinkley (2000).

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