February 4, 1913 Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, the “mother of the modern Civil Rights Movement,” was born in Tuskegee, Alabama.
On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, she refused to obey a bus driver’s order to give up her seat to a White passenger and was arrested. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and made her an international icon of resistance to racial segregation.
Eventually, she moved to Detroit, Michigan and from 1965 to 1988 worked for United States Representative John Conyers. Parks received many honors, including the 1979 Spingarn Medal from the NAACP, 1983 induction into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented by President William Clinton in 1996, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999.
In 1976, the City of Detroit renamed 12th Street Rosa Parks Boulevard. Parks died on October 24, 2005 and was honored as the first woman and the second African American to lay in state at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. She also laid in state in the Rotunda of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan for 48 hours.
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