This Day In Black History: Civil Rights Activist Rosa Parks was born

Civil Rights Activist Rosa Parks

HOUSTON — Civil Rights Activist Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was born on Feb. 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Parks grew up on a farm with her grandparents, mother and younger brother Sylvester. Parks and her family were members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, or AME — a church founded by free African-Americans in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 1932, Rosa married Raymond Parks who was a barber from Montgomery, Alabama and a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP.

In 1933, Parks graduated from high school, and had numerous jobs, ranging from domestic worker to hospital aide. In 1943, Parks became active in the Civil Rights Movement and joined the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP as a secretary.

In 1944, as secretary, Parks investigated the case of Recy Taylor, a black woman from Abbeville, Alabama who was gang-raped by six Caucasian men. Parks and other civil rights activists organized the “Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor.”

In 1955, Parks became known as “the mother of the freedom movement” when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus. After her arrest, Parks became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement.

Parks used her iconic voice and position to help individuals in need. In the 1970s, Parks dedicated her time to help political prisoners that were involved in self-defense cases. In the 1980s, Parks co-founded the Rosa L. Parks Scholarship Foundation for graduating high school seniors.

On Oct. 24, 2005, Parks died of natural causes at the age of 92 in her Detroit apartment.

She left a legacy that will be remembered forever, receiving numerous awards and honored for her hard work and dedication to make African-Americans have a voice:

Detroit renamed 12th Street “Rosa Parks Boulevard”

Spingarn Medal from NAACP

Martin Luther King Jr. Award

Inducted into Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame

Candace Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women

Alabama Academy of Honor

Congressional Gold Medal

Want more black history? See this fascinating feature on the story behind a 200-year-old oak tree in Missouri City.

Definitely a piece of history!