Civil rights leader Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in 1955. This lead to African-Americans boycotting public transportation to protest Parks’ arrest and, in turn, segregation laws. Here’s a look at her life.
Birth date: February 4, 1913
Death date: October 24, 2005
Birth place: Tuskegee, Alabama
Birth name: Rosa Louise McCauley
Father: James McCauley, carpenter
Mother: Leona (Edwards) McCauley, teacher
Marriage: Raymond Parks (1932-1977, his death)
1930-1955 – Works several jobs as a housekeeper, seamstress, secretary and life insurance agent. Spends her spare time active in the voter registration movement and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
1943-1956 – Serves as secretary for the Montgomery, Alabama, branch of the NAACP.
December 1, 1955 – While on her way home from her job as a seamstress at the Montgomery Fair department store, Parks is arrested when she refuses to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man, thus violating Jim Crow practices.
December 5, 1955 – Day one of the 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system in response to Parks’ arrest and segregation laws. It becomes known as the official beginning of the civil rights movement. On the same day, Parks is tried and found guilty of violating Montgomery’s segregation laws. Her attorneys appeal the verdict, arguing the laws are unconstitutional.
November 13, 1956 – The US Supreme Court declares Montgomery bus segregation laws unconstitutional and illegal.
December 20, 1956 – The court’s written order is officially served to Montgomery officials. The boycott ends and buses are integrated.
1957 – Parks and her husband Raymond move to Detroit to escape pro-segregation harassment. She continues activist work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
1965-1988 – Works as an administrative assistant to US Representative John Conyers.
1987 – Founds the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, an organization offering career training, education and motivation to youth.
February 1991 – The Smithsonian Institute unveils a bronze bust of Parks in the National Portrait Gallery.
December 1991 – The autobiography, “Rosa Parks: My Story,” is published.
1998 – Receives the first International Freedom Conductor Award from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
January 19, 1999 – Attends the State of the Union Address, sits with First Lady Hillary Clinton and is mentioned in the address in regards to the country’s efforts to bring about racial harmony.
February 2002 – The National Parks Service puts Parks’ Montgomery home on the National Registry of Historic Places.
August 2004 – Parks files a second lawsuit against the music group Outkast over their song “Rosa Parks,” seeking $5 billion from record and distribution companies and stores that sold the song, claiming the song violated her publicity and trademark rights.
September 22, 2004 – Parks’ lawyer confirms that Parks has dementia.
October 2004 – A legal dispute surrounding the appointment of a guardian for Parks ensues. A judge appoints former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer her legal guardian, but Parks’ lawyer files a motion to block Archer’s appointment.
January 12, 2005 – A judge releases Parks’ medical records showing that she has suffered from dementia since at least 2002.
April 14, 2005 – A settlement in the suit against Outkast is announced. OutKast and co-defendants will help develop educational programs and will work with the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute to promote Parks’ legacy.
October 24, 2005 – Rosa Parks dies at the age of 92 of natural causes.