Last modified on 13 November 2014, at 16:42

Rosa Parks

I'd see the bus pass every day... But to me, that was a way of life; we had no choice but to accept what was the custom. The bus was among the first ways I realized there was a black world and a white world.

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913October 24, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist and seamstress whom the U.S. Congress dubbed the "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement". She is famous for her refusal on December 1, 1955 to obey bus driver James Blake's demand that she relinquish her seat so a white man could sit in the row.

QuotesEdit

  • 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.
    • Rosa Parks: My Story, p. 116, Rosa Parks and James Haskins (1992)
  • I did not want to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time... there was opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. 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.
  • Thank you very much. I am happy to be here. I honor my late husband Raymond Parks, other Freedom Fighters, men of goodwill who could not be here. I'm also honored by young men who respect me and have invited me as an elder. Raymond, or Parks as I called him, was an activist in the Scottsboro Boys case, voter registration, and a role model for youth. As a self-taught businessman, he provided for his family, and he loved and respected me. Parks would have stood proud and tall to see so many of our men uniting for our common man and committing their lives to a better future for themselves, their families, and this country. Although criticism and controversy has been focused on in the media instead of benefits for the one million men assembling peacefully for spiritual food and direction, it is a success. I pray that my multiracial and international friends will view this [some audio unclear] gathering as an opportunity for all men but primarily men of African heritage to make changes in their lives for the better. I am proud of all groups of people who feel connected with me in any way, and I will always work for human rights for all people. However, as an African American woman, I am proud, applaud, and support our men in this assembly. I would a lot like to have male students of the Pathways to Freedom to join me here and wave their hands, but I don't think they're here right now. But thank you all young men of the Pathways to Freedom. Thank you and God bless you all. Thank you.
    • Rosa Park speech to social activists assembled in Washington, D.C. (1995))
  • I'd see the bus pass every day... But to me, that was a way of life; we had no choice but to accept what was the custom. The bus was among the first ways I realized there was a black world and a white world.
  • We didn't have any civil rights. It was just a matter of survival, of existing from one day to the next. I remember going to sleep as a girl hearing the Klan ride at night and hearing a lynching and being afraid the house would burn down.
  • I do the very best I can to look upon life with optimism and hope and looking forward to a better day, but I don't think there is anything such as complete happiness. It pains me that there is still a lot of Klan activity and racism. I think when you say you're happy, you have everything that you need and everything that you want, and nothing more to wish for. I haven't reached that stage yet.
    • Quoted in "Standing Up for Freedom," Academy of Achievement.org (2005-10-31)
  • God has always given me the strength to say what is right... I had the strength of God and my ancestors with me.
    • Quoted in The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, by Jeanne Theoharis (2013)
  • From my upbringing and the Bible I learned people should stand up for rights just as the children of Israel stood up to the Pharaoh.
    • Quoted in The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, by Jeanne Theoharis (2013)
  • I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.

Quiet Strength (2000)Edit

Quiet Strength : the Faith, the Hope, and the Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation, by Rosa Parks with Gregory J. Reed (2000)

  • Every day before supper and before we went to services on Sundays my grandmother would read the Bible to me, and my grandfather would pray. We even had devotions before going to pick cotton in the fields. Prayer and the Bible, became a part of my everyday thoughts and beliefs. I learned to put my trust in God and to seek Him as my strength
  • Since I have always been a strong believer in God, I knew that He was with me, and only He could get me through that next step.
  • I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.

Quotes about Rosa ParksEdit

  • Mrs. Rosa Parks is a very fine person. And, since it had to happen, I'm happy that it happened to a person like Mrs. Parks, for nobody can doubt the boundless outreach of her integrity. Nobody can doubt the height of her character nobody can doubt the depth of her Christian commitment and devotion to the teachings of Jesus. And I'm happy since it had to happen, it happened to a person that nobody can call a disturbing factor in the community. Mrs. Parks is a fine Christian person, unassuming, and yet there is integrity and character there. And just because she refused to get up, she was arrested.

External linksEdit

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