Rosa Parks is perhaps most famous for being the ‘first lady of civil rights’, as the United States Congress referred to her.
In 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat in the ‘coloured’ section of a bus so a white man could sit down. Parks was then arrested for her defiance and charged with a violation to segregation laws despite not sitting in the ‘white’ section.
Her actions led to the Montgomery bus boycott, in which the black community refused to use buses. Many carpooled, walked or used black-operated cabs, which charged the same price as buses.
Black residents of Montgomery continued the boycott for 381 days, while a number of buses stood for months causing considerable damage to the bus company’s finances. Eventually, the city repealed its law of the segregation of public buses.
Parks became known as a symbol of the civil rights movement, speaking regularly about injustice and racial discrimination.
On October 24th 2005, Parks died of natural causes at the age of 92. She has since been honoured on stamps, in museums, on buses and had days named after her. Both her birthday on February 4th and the day she was arrested have become known as Rosa Parks Day.
To celebrate Black History Month, we take a look at some of Park’s most inspirational quotes:
“Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.”
“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes the fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
“The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.”
“Each person must live their life as a model for others.”
“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free…so other people would also be free.”
“I knew someone had to take the first step and I made up my mind not to move.”
“From the time I was a child, I tried to protest against disrespectful treatment.”
“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.”
“Differences of race, nationality or religion should not be used to deny any human being citizenship rights or privileges.”
“I believe we are here on the planet Earth to live grow up and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.”