WOMAN of ACTION™ – Rosa Parks *Tribute





Rosa Parks

Back then, we didn’t have any civil rights. It was just a matter of survival existing from one day to the next. I remember going to sleep as a girl hearing the Klan ride at night and hearing a lynching and being afraid the house would burn down.” Rosa Parks

Rosa Louise McCauley was born on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama.

At age 2, Rosa moved to Pine Level, Alabama, to live with her grandparents, and at age 11, attended a private school called Montgomery Industrial School for Girls. She then attended Alabama State Teachers College and married Raymond Parks. They settled down together in Montgomery, Alabama, and joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Rosa Parks’ booking photo at the Montgomery, Alabama police station in 1954, after refusing to give up her seat on the bus.

On December 1, 1955, Rosa’s whole life changed when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. For violating Montgomery’s ordinance, she was arrested and fined. However, this act began the modern civil rights movement.



In combination with Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa boycotted the ciry’s bus company for a duration of 382 days. This caused the Supreme Court to rule that the ordinance under which Rosa was fined was wrong. They also put out a law against racial segregation on public transportation.

She also later received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize.

In 1957, Rosa moved with her husband to Detroit, Michigan. There, she served as part of U.S. Representative John Conyers’ staff. The Rosa Parks Freedom Award was created in her honor by the Southern Christian Leadership Council as well.

In 2004, Rosa was diagnosed with progressive dementia and died the following year on October 24, 2005. Three days after Rosa’s death, all of the city buses in Montgomery and Detroit reserved their front seats with black ribbons in her honor, and remained this way until Rosa was put into her final resting place. The journey to the cemetery was a long one, one that recapped everything she stood for and believed in her whole life.

On October 29, 2005 her body was flown back to Montgomery and taken to St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church by a horse drawn hearse. She lay in repose at the church until the following morning when a memorial service was held in her honor. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke at the service. In this speech was an important insight, when Rice stated that her own job is credited to Rosa’s efforts in helping to shape a path to success for other inspirational black leaders.



That same evening, Rosa’s body was transported to Washington, D.C. where a bus that was similar to the one she made her famous stand in transported her to the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. There she lay in honor, and was viewed by more than 50,000 people, until the memorial service at St. Paul AME in Washington, D.C. on October 31, 2005.

After the memorial service in Washington, D.C., she was taken back to Detroit to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History where she lay in repose for two days.

On Wednesday, November 2, 2005, a funeral service was held for Rosa at the Greater Grace Temple Church in Detroit, Michigan. The service lasted for over seven hours, after the casket was taken by horse drawn hearse to the cemetery. An honor guard from the Michigan National Guard laid a flag over the casket before it was transported and presented it to Rosa’s niece at the cemetery. Along the route of the funeral procession, thousands of people stood in honor of Rosa and released white balloons as the procession went by.

The day of Rosa’s funeral procession, President George W. Bush ordered all flags in the Nation’s Capitol and all United States public areas, both continental and abroad, to be flown at half mast.

Great honor was shown to Rosa Parks by allowing her body to lie in repose in so many prestigious places, giving many people the opportunity to pay their respects to this woman who had done so much to change the future of the American people. Add to this the shear number of people who arrived at each memorial service and viewing and the thousands of people on the procession route and you get a testimony to the many lives that Rosa Parks touched during her nine decades on earth.



When Rosa’s husband died, she created the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development which annually sponsors Pathways to Freedom, summer programs for teens where they Tour the Country and learn about the Civil Rights Movement.

A Celebration of Women™

celebrates this life, an icon in the African American History books,

a woman of courage, dignity and strength in honor of Black History Month.

Brava Rosa!

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