Rosa Parks was an American civil rights activist who is best known for her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. On December 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger, leading to her arrest and sparking a boycott of the Montgomery bus system that lasted for over a year. This boycott was one of the largest and most successful protests against racial segregation in the United States, and it played a key role in the Civil Rights Movement.
Parks was born in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1913 and grew up in a time of racial segregation. She worked as a seamstress and was also active in the Civil Rights Movement, joining the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP in 1943. She became the chapter’s secretary in the early 1950s and worked to register black voters.
The boycott of the Montgomery bus system began the day after her arrest and was organized by the Montgomery Improvement Association, which was led by Martin Luther King Jr. The boycott lasted for over a year and was successful in desegregating the Montgomery bus system.
Parks’ actions and the boycott that followed brought her national attention and she became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. She continued to be active in the Civil Rights Movement and worked for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization led by Martin Luther King Jr. In 1996, President Bill Clinton presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Rosa Parks died in 2005, but her legacy lives on as a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement and as a symbol of resistance to racial discrimination.