I'd like to propose a candidate for a new national holiday. December 1-Rosa Parks Day.
On December 1, 1955, a black seamstress would not budge. And all America shook.
History is taught as the record of presidents, kings and generals. But sometimes it is the extraordinary story of an "ordinary" person that history must tell. On December 1, 1955, one woman's act of defiance changed history. But it wouldn't be fair to call Rosa Parks, who was born in 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama and died October 24, 2005 at age 92, an "ordinary person." What do you know about this courageous woman who helped spark the civil rights movement that transformed America? (Answers below)
1. Where and why was Rosa Parks arrested?
2. Before her arrest, was Rosa Parks involved in the civil rights movement?
3. How much education did Rosa Parks, the descendant of slaves, receive?
4. What action did her arrest trigger?
5. Who was elected president of the organization that ran the boycott?
Check here for resources about Rosa parks from the Library of Congress.
Quiz adapted from Don't Know Much About Anything
1. She refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. A city law required that whites and blacks sit in separate rows. The law also required blacks to leave their seats to make room for white passengers.
2. Yes. Rosa Parks had become one of the first women to join the Montgomery Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1943, serving as its secretary until 1956. Employed as a seamstress, she lost her job as a result of the boycott and later moved to Detroit.
3. She attended Alabama State Teachers College.
4. Her arrest triggered a boycott of the city's segregated bus system that had been planned by local civil rights leaders who were awaiting the right moment. The arrest of Rosa Parks was that moment. For 382 days, thousands of blacks refused to ride Montgomery's buses and the boycott ended when the U.S. Supreme Court declared segregated seating on the city's buses unconstitutional.
5. A young and unknown Martin Luther King, Jr. -- then a Baptist minister in Montgomery -- was chosen as president, providing his first national stage.
Read more about Rosa Parks in Don't Know Much About History and my biography for young readers, Don't Know Much About Rosa Parks