Mother Of The Movement: Celebrating Rosa Parks On Her 107th Birthday
Rosa Parks was anything but a one-dimensional figure who one day opted to stand up for her humanity on the back of a Montgomery, Alabama, bus on December 1, 1955.
While her action did become one of the biggest sparks to move the civil rights movement to the attention of white Americans, the work was being done on the grassroots level years before.
In 1943 Parks joined the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, serving as secretary to NAACP President E.D. Nixon until 1957, as well as the chapter’s youth leader. Prior to the bus boycott, she worked tirelessly as an NAACP investigator on the rape of Recy Taylor, a young Black woman who was brutally raped by a group of white men in Alabama.
It was a balmy, December day when Parks decided to not give up her seat to a white passenger on her route. At the time she was working in a Montgomery department store as an in-house seamstress. The move would also contribute to great loss in Parks’ life.
Parks and her husband relocated to Detroit after several city and local officials worked to disenfranchise her and her husband Raymond out of work. Rosa lost her job at a local department store and her husband was fired after being censured from discussing his wife’s legal matters at work.
As the years go by since her death, we are able to see her as a full woman, one who encountered many difficulties, joys and triumphs in her lifetime. She became an avid yogi in her 70’s after suffering heart issues and was also a green conservatism throughout her life. Parks also delved into acting, appearing on the series Touched By An Angel and the game show To Tell The Truth.
She was heralded and respected by her peers and by world leaders. On September 15, 1996, President Clinton bestowed her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a civilian can receive.
Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. Parks died in Detroit, Michigan, on October 24, 2005. We celebrate the civil rights icon on February 4, which would have been her 107th birthday.