Who Is Rosa Parks? Facts for Kids

What is Rosa Parks Day?

Rosa Parks Day is marked each year on 4th February, the day of her birthday. On this day, schools and colleges worldwide will explore the impact Rosa Parks made in the Civil Rights Movement for Black Americans.

Rosa Parks Day is also celebrated on December 1st when she was arrested.

What are vital facts about Rosa Parks for kids?

  • On the 4th of February 1913, Rosa Parks was born in Alabama. Her father worked as a carpenter, and her mother as a teacher.
  • Rosa Parks’s parents separated when she was a little girl. She and her brother, Sylvester, moved to Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, with their mother.
  • Rosa Parks was a hardworking student at school. However, she had to stop studying when she was 16 to look after her ill grandmother and her mother.
  • She married Raymond Parks when she was 19 years old. She was able to resume her studies and achieve her high school diploma.
  • Rosa Parks then became a tailor.
  • She was arrested in 1956 after refusing to move seats on a bus so a white person could sit in her place.
  • Rosa Parks’s arrest meant she lost her job and had to look for a new one. Her husband also had to move jobs because he could not talk about his wife or her legal case at work. They made a new home in Hampton, Virginia.
  • Rosa Parks would then become a spokesperson for the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Later, she wrote a book about the events of her life
  • Rosa Parks was 92 years old on her death.
  • The date of the death of Rosa Parks was 24th October 2005.

What is segregation?

If you were a Black person in 1955, your life would likely be full of hardships. Black and white people were kept apart (segregated) on public transport, restaurants, parks, and public toilets. Children were also educated separately in some states, and the schools were often poorly funded and inadequately equipped.

Furthermore, some states did not allow Black people to vote.

Why is Rosa Parks famous?

The events of 1st December 1955 would be necessary to the civil rights movement. Here’s what happened.

  • On the 1st of December 1955, Rosa Parks finished work and got on the bus home. The bus seats were allocated according to whether you were white or Black. She took a seat on the first row intended for Black people.
  • All the ‘whites only’ seats were taken by the third stop on the bus route. So, the white bus driver stepped back onto the bus to tell Rosa Parks and the three other Black people in the front row to move back so that the white people could take their seats.
  • The three other people agreed to the bus driver’s request. However, Rosa Parks refused to move seats. The driver threatened to call the police, and Rosa Parks told him to go ahead. She was arrested and detained.
  • The next day, three of Rosa Parks’s friends paid her bail, which meant she was allowed to leave the cells.
  • Rosa Parks and her friends then began to put in place a bus boycott. This meant that all Black people would not take any buses until changes were made to the current policy of segregating seats. Martin Luther King Jr. also became involved.
  • For the next 381 days in Montgomery, Black people boycotted the buses. Some white people also joined them. Many walked to their destination instead.
  • The bus boycott that Rosa Parks initiated finally ended on 20th December 1956, when the government passed laws to stop bus segregation.
  • Rosa Parks’s act was pivotal to the progress of the civil rights movement and would lead to her development as a critical civil rights activist.
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