If you think back in history, who comes to mind when you think of brave women? Rosa Parks surely made the short list, right? To commemorate her, today’s Google doodle is in honor of the civil rights activist who refused to give up her seat to a white man on an Alabama bus 55 years ago.
At the time, an Alabama law was in place that required all African Americans to give up their seats on public transportation to white passengers. But after Rosa Parks’ brave refusal on December 1, 1955, she was arrested which started a 381 day boycott of the Montgomery, Alabama buses. Her brave actions were a defining moment in our nation’s history and led to the 1956 Supreme Court ruling that outlawed segregation on public transportation.
So who is Rosa Parks? Well, to start, she was born February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama and married Raymond Parks in 1932. With strong encouragement from her husband, she graduated high school and went on to work as an advisor to the NAACP Youth Council. She passed away October 24, 2005 at the age of 92.
In a 1992 interview with NPR, Rosa Parks recounts the incident and explained she did not plan to get arrested:
I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail,” Parks said. “But when I had to face that decision, I didn’t hesitate to do so, because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became.
Rosa Parks went on to receive a Presidential Medial of Freedom in 1996. President Bill Clinton presented her with the highest honor awarded by the executive branch. In 1999, Rosa Parks was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal and will be forever known as “the first lady of civil rights.”
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