Rosa Parks quotes

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Rosa Parks

Birthdate: 4. February 1913
Date of death: 24. October 2005

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement, whom the United States Congress called "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement".

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake's order to give up her seat in the "colored section" to a white passenger, after the whites-only section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation. Others had taken similar steps, including Bayard Rustin in 1942, Irene Morgan in 1946, Lillie Mae Bradford in 1951, Sarah Louise Keys in 1952, and the members of the ultimately successful Browder v. Gayle 1956 lawsuit who were arrested in Montgomery for not giving up their bus seats months before Parks. NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws, although eventually her case became bogged down in the state courts while the Browder v. Gayle case succeeded.

Parks' act of defiance and the Montgomery bus boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement.

At the time, Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. She had recently attended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee center for training activists for workers' rights and racial equality. She acted as a private citizen "tired of giving in". Although widely honored in later years, she also suffered for her act; she was fired from her job as a seamstress in a local department store, and received death threats for years afterwards.

Shortly after the boycott, she moved to Detroit, where she briefly found similar work. From 1965 to 1988 she served as secretary and receptionist to John Conyers, an African-American US Representative. She was also active in the Black Power movement and the support of political prisoners in the US.

After retirement, Parks wrote her autobiography and continued to insist that the struggle for justice was not over and there was more work to be done. In her final years, she suffered from dementia. Parks received national recognition, including the NAACP's 1979 Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall. Upon her death in 2005, she was the first woman and third non-US government official to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda. Her birthday, February 4, and the day she was arrested, December 1, have both become Rosa Parks Day, commemorated in California and Missouri , and Ohio and Oregon .

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„I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.“

—  Rosa Parks

Quoted in "Women of the Hall: Rosa Parks," http://womenshalloffame.org/women.php?action=viewone&id=117 Women's National Hall of Fame (undated); said upon her 77th birthday (1990-02-04)

„The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.“

—  Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks: My Story, p. 116, Rosa Parks and James Haskins (1992)
Context: People always said that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.

„Thank you very much. I honor my late husband Raymond Parks, other Freedom Fighters, men of goodwill who could not be here. I'm also honored by young men who respect me and have invited me as an elder. Raymond, or Parks as I called him, was an activist in the Scottsboro Boys case, voter registration, and a role model for youth. As a self-taught businessman, he provided for his family, and he loved and respected me. Parks would have stood proud and tall to see so many of our men uniting for our common man and committing their lives to a better future for themselves, their families, and this country. Although criticism and controversy has been focused on in the media instead of benefits for the one million men assembling peacefully for spiritual food and direction, it is a success. I pray that my multiracial and international friends will view this [some audio unclear] gathering as an opportunity for all men but primarily men of African heritage to make changes in their lives for the better. I am proud of all groups of people who feel connected with me in any way, and I will always work for human rights for all people. However, as an African American woman, I am proud, applaud, and support our men in this assembly. I would a lot like to have male students of the Pathways to Freedom to join me here and wave their hands, but I don't think they're here right now. But thank you all young men of the Pathways to Freedom. Thank you and God bless you all. Thank you.“

—  Rosa Parks

Rosa Park speech to social activists assembled in Washington, D.C. ( 1995) http://www.sweetspeeches.com/s/2316-rosa-parks-speech-at-the-million-man-march)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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