The Legacy of Rosa Parks

December 1st marks the 56th anniversary of Rosa Park's arrest for refusing to surrender her seat to a white male passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. She worked tirelessly side-by-side with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. launching him as a key figure in the struggle for equality. Her quiet and courageous act changed America and redirected the course of history.

When asked to explain her actions on that day she detailed her motivation in her autobiography, Rosa Parks: My Story:
“People always say 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."

Her act of civil disobedience was a catalyst for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a significant event in the civil rights story. The book, Let My People Go: The Miracle of the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Robert Walker describes this important event. It began on December 5, 1955 the day of Rosa Park's trial for disorderly conduct and violating a local ordinance. It rained that day, but the African American community persevered in their boycott. Some rode in carpools, while others traveled in black operated-cabs that charged the same fare as the bus, 10 cents. Most of the remainder of the 40,000 black commuters walked, some as far as 20 miles. In the end, the boycott lasted for 381 days. Dozens of public buses stood idle for months, severely damaging the bus transit company's finances, until the law requiring segregation on public buses was lifted.

Through her role in sparking the boycott, Parks played an important part in internationalizing the awareness of the plight of African Americans and the civil rights struggle. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his 1958 book Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story that Parks' arrest was the precipitating factor, rather than the cause, of the protest: "The cause lay deep in the record of similar injustices. Actually, no one can understand the action of Mrs. Parks unless he realizes that eventually the cup of endurance runs over, and the human personality cries out, 'I can take it no longer.'"

The library contains many books about Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. On this anniversary of her brave act of defiance take the time to read about this quiet exemplification of courage, dignity and determination who is nationally recognized as the "mother of the modern day Civil Rights Movement."

Written by Sara on December 1, 2011


Jay on November 29, 2011


Very nice blog! a great way of honoring a woman who had the courage to use civil disobedience in the face of injustice.
Several authors highlight the fact that this was not just a random act, but one that took root in her as she developed as a leader and activist. Her involvement as one of the secretaries of the NAACP and her alliances with other activist had certainly played a key role in the stance she took in 1955.


Thanks, Jay! I did a book report on Rosa Parks when I was in grade school in Montgomery and I was so impressed by what I read that this seemed like a great time to highlight her in a blog. The library has so many great books about her that my winter reading will include some Rosa titles.

AnonymousReader on February 7, 2013


block this fools

ellie goulding on January 9, 2014


hi everyone! this was so intresting! this will help tons of people with reports and stuff!

Anonymous on January 21, 2014


I'm doing a History project and I found this really helpful

Anonymous on May 5, 2014


What about her youth? Anything of her youth, her parents devorce to her slavery time to her education.

Anonymous on January 8, 2015



Sydney on November 1, 2015


This was Sooo helpful for ma history project!! Cx xDD Because of this I got an A*+ ^~^ Carry On Creating!

Anonymous on November 30, 2015


this is so helpful. THX for writing this article!!

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