Today in history... Rosa Parks was born

When Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was born on this day in 1913, nobody had any clue that US Congress would one proclaim her the "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement."

Yet the fateful day which cemented Park's legacy would not occur until December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama.

Parks, by then aged 42, did the unthinkable: she refused to obey bus driver James Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger.

Although she was not the first person to do this - 15-year-old Claudette Colvin had made the exact same protest on the same bus system, nine months previously - Parks' action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Rosa Parks photographed with Martin Luther King Jr
Rosa Parks photographed with Martin Luther
King Jr

By then, acts of defiance had become an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement. In the wake of her protest, Parks became an international icon against racial segregation.

Thereafter, she collaborated with Rev Martin Luther King Jr - playing a vital role in his ascent to national prominence as a Civil Rights leader and icon.

Fast-forward to the present day: King was voted second in a list of widely admired people of the 20th Century, compiled by Gallup, and came third in AOL's Greatest Americans poll.

Meanwhile, his seminal book, Stride Toward Freedom, published in 1961, can command £6,000 on the private Collectibles market.

The fact remains - both King, and the modern Civil Rights movement, were forever changed by Park's fateful protest on that day in 1955.

 

 


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