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Born the eldest of two children in 1913, Rosa Louise McCauley was raised on her grandparents farm in pine level Alabama. As a child, Rosa was exposed to the realities of segregation. She walked to school daily because the elementary school bus system prohibited black students from riding. Rosa later attended the Alabama State Teachers College High School. However, due to both her grandmother and mother's illnesses, she was forced to drop out. At 19, Rosa met Raymond Parks, who worked with Montgomery's NAACP chapter after their marriage in 1932, and much encouragement, she earned her high school diploma.


Rosa joined Raymond in the NAACP, serving as the chapter's secretary and youth leader.


History is peculiar. It places gifted and talented women and men in situations where they must make a choice.


The choice she made was on the afternoon of the 1st of December 1955 on a bus as she was going home from her seamstress job in a department store in Montgomery, Alabama.


Rosa, along with three other black passengers, were told to give up their seats to a white male passenger. She refused and was arrested. An all day bus boycott was organized on the day of Rose's trial, December 5th, 1955, where she was fined fourteen dollars and found guilty.


She was a role model for courage in the face of racial injustice. Rosa Parks, through her quiet eloquence, through her commitment both to her faith and to the cause of civil rights and racial equality, was prepared to sacrifice everything, her security, even her life, to fight for what was right, at least her perception of what was justice. Thousands of people walked, carpooled and took cabs to work. The boycott lasted 381 days with a 26 year old Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.


as their leader. Rosa was not the first person to refuse to give up her seat to. Other women were previously arrested for the same offense. However, it was this quiet 42 year old who became the face of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1956. Groundbreaking history was made.


The Supreme Court decision by a nine to zero vote supported the civil rights position, calling for an end to racial segregation on municipal buses. Unable to find work largely due to her political stance, the parks moved north to Detroit, Michigan, and by 1965, Rosa began to work for Congressman John Conyers until 1988, when she retired in memory of her husband and in her vision for a better tomorrow, Rosa co-founded the Rose and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, which educates young people on the civil rights movement, gives freedom bus tours and provides youth with professional guidance.


Rosa also worked, giving lectures and advocating for social justice. Rosa Parks passed away on October 24th, 2005. She was the first woman and second African-American to lie in honor at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Rosa received over two dozen honorary doctrines and numerous national and international awards. Among them, the Medal of Freedom from President Clinton and the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor. Rosa was a grassroots activist for social justice and peace through her efforts in the civil rights movement to her participation in the anti-apartheid movement for South Africa.


Although she never planned on getting arrested, her simple action changed the course of a nation. I think Mrs. Parks unexpectedly had greatness thrust upon her.


I think she was born for it and I do think she achieved it. You see what I mean?


But had she not of that particular day said, I'm not moving my feet hurt, we would have a different nation and a different world.