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Rosa Parks Facts for Kids; Facts about Civil Rights Movement

My son and I recently visited the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, AL with a school field trip and I have to say, it was very interesting! After the field trip, I realized how much I didn’t know about the civil rights movement and Rosa Parks. I thought it would be interesting to share a handful of informative Rosa Parks facts with you today so you and your kids can be informed about this important time in history too!

Rosa Parks facts for kids

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Who is Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was an African American civil rights activist whose refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus on December 1, 1955, became a turning moment in the U.S. civil rights movement. Standing her ground and NOT giving up her seat led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which is considered one of the largest and most successful mass movements against racial segregation in history. The boycott lasted for more than a year and led to a United States Supreme Court decision declaring the Alabama and Montgomery laws that segregated buses to be unconstitutional.

Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. Throughout her life, she was a committed advocate for civil rights and worked with other prominent figures like Martin Luther King Jr. She was also involved in the National Association for the Advancement of black people (NAACP), serving as the secretary of the Montgomery chapter.

Her quiet strength and moral courage made her an international icon to racial segregation. Rosa Parks received numerous honors, including the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal making her a real civil rights leader. She passed away on October 24, 2005, at the age of 92. Her legacy continues to inspire civil rights activism around the world. 

Let me share some interesting facts about Rosa Parks and the pivotal act she made for the advancement of colored people. 

Rosa Parks Facts for Kids

  1. Her full name is Rosa Louise McCauley Parks.
  2. Rosa Parks is remembered as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,” and her actions on that bus in 1955 are a big part of why laws started to change so that all people could have equal rights.
  3. Rosa Parks grew up on her grandparents’ farm, which instilled in her a strong sense of independence and justice from a young age.
  4. The boycott lasted 381 days, and it was successful in part because of the organized alternative transportation system set up by African Americans, which included carpools and walking.
  5. On the day of her protest, Rosa Parks was actually sitting in the “colored section” of the bus. When the “white section” filled up, the bus driver demanded that she and three other black passengers give up their bus seat to white people and move to the back of the bus.
  6. Several other women, including 15-year-old Claudette Colvin and Mary Louise Smith, refused to give up their seats on Montgomery buses before Parks. However, Parks’ case became a rallying point for the civil rights movement.
  7. The bus driver who had her arrested, James F. Blake, had a prior encounter with Parks in 1943. He had evicted her from his bus for entering through the front door, which was reserved for white passengers.
  8. Rosa Parks continued to work for civil rights and help others even after the bus boycott. She wrote books and spoke about her experiences.
  9. When she refused to move to the back of the bus to make room for a white man, the bus driver called the police, and she was arrested. Her courage helped start a big protest called the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  10. Parks attended the Montgomery Industrial School for Girls, a private school founded by liberal-minded women from the northern United States. The school encouraged self-worth and taught its students to stand up against racial injustices.
  11. After her arrest, Rosa Parks faced harassment and death threats, making it difficult for her to find work. Her husband, Raymond Parks, also suffered after the boycott and had to quit his job after his boss forbade him to talk about his wife or the legal case.
  12. Rosa Parks and her family moved to Detroit, Michigan, in 1957, partly due to the difficulty they faced in Montgomery. There, she continued to be an active advocate for civil rights.
  13. In Detroit, Parks worked as a secretary and receptionist for John Conyers, an African American U.S. Representative. She held this position from 1965 until her retirement in 1988.
  14. Rosa Parks published her autobiography, “Rosa Parks: My Story,” in 1992, giving a personal account of her life and the events that shaped the civil rights movement.
  15. A statue of Rosa Parks was unveiled in the United States Capitol’s National Statuary Hall on February 27, 2013.
  16. A handful of states have declared a day titled “Rosa Parks Day” in commemoration of her bravery and the civil rights movement. See more facts about this below.
  17. Before her work with the NAACP, Rosa Parks held a variety of jobs, including as a housekeeper and a hospital aide.
  18. At the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Rosa Parks was the only woman to speak during the televised portion of the program. 
  19. In 2006, Rosa Parks’ arrest records and other historical documents related to the Montgomery Bus Boycott were auctioned for $4.5 million. The buyer, Howard G. Buffett, has since then used the collection for educational purposes.
  20. In 2019, a statue of Rosa Parks was unveiled in Montgomery, Alabama, on the 64th anniversary of her arrest. The statue is located near the spot where she boarded the infamous bus.
  21. Rosa Parks valued her education and worked to get her high school diploma. There was no public high school for black students so had to attend through the local college which cost money. She worked cleaning classrooms to help pay for the classes.
  22. On December 1, 2005, the 50th anniversary of her arrest, transit authorities in New York City, Washington, D.C. and other American cities symbolically left the seats behind bus drivers empty to commemorate Parks’ act of civil disobedience.
  23. Rosa Parks grew up in Pine Level, Alabama, and attended the Pine Level Elementary School, which was a one-room schoolhouse that served black children in the area. They had to walk to school while white students got to ride the bus to their school. 
  24. After the eleventh grade, she had to quit school to take care of her grandmother and then her mother who were ill. She later received her high school diploma when she was 20.
  25. Segregation on public buses ended in 1956 after a U.S. supreme court ruling declared it unconstitutional in Browder v. Gayle case. 

What is Rosa Parks day

Rosa Parks Day is a day commemorating the civil rights actions of Rosa Parks, particularly her pivotal role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It is observed on two different dates in the United States:

  1. December 1: This date marks the anniversary of the day in 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus to a white passenger, which was a catalyst for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Some states, like Ohio and Oregon, have chosen to observe Rosa Parks Day on this date.
  2. February 4: This date is Rosa Parks’ birthday, and some states, including California and Missouri, have chosen to commemorate Rosa Parks Day on this day.

Rosa Parks Day is not a federal holiday, but it is observed by certain states and local communities with activities that honor her legacy, such as educational programs, tributes, and public transportation systems that may offer free rides on city buses. The day serves as an opportunity to reflect on the progress made in civil rights movement for racial equality.

I hope we’ve shed shared some interesting information to share with your kids while learning about the Civil Rights movement. Looking for more interesting facts? Check out a few below;

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