American Women!
A Celebration of Our History
April 22 -- October 29, 2000

Civil Rights Activist


"The only tired I was, was tired of giving in."


Rosa Parks was always an activist for civil rights. Active in the Montgomery Voters League and secretary of the local chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), she had worked hard to register to vote--a task that was very difficult for black people in Alabama at the time.

In 1955 Rosa was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. Her action resulted in a boycott of the Montgomery bus system by every black citizen--70 percent of bus passengers--who were led by 25-year-old Martin Luther King, Jr. Within a year, segregated seating was challenged in a federal lawsuit and the Supreme Court ruled that the bus segregation policy was unconstitutional.

However, Rosa lost her sewing job because of the arrest and moved to Detroit where she continued to be active in civil rights. In 1987 she founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development, which offers guidance to young black Americans.

Historic Artifacts:

ARREST RECORD of Rosa Parks, document of the city of Montgomery
FINGERPRINTS of Parks after her arrest in 1955 Both documents were part of the federal civil case.
-- On loan from National Archives Southeast Region, East Point GA

LIMITED EDITION PRINT of Rosa Parks on the bus; gift from the young people of the Rosa Parks Institute.
-- On loan from the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis TN

Return to the "From Fifties to Feminism, 1950-1990" index page
"red arrow" Continue the story--NEXT... ."Into the 21st Century, 1990 onward"
or visit:"
  From Colony to Country, 1600-1800 "From Prairie to Polls, 1870-1920"
  From Growth to Civil War, 1800-1870 "From Jazz to War 1920-1950"
"red arrow" View an alphabetical list of all 106 women included in American Women! with links to photos and biographies for selected women
"red arrow" View a Thank You to over 100 lenders to Ameican Women!
"red arrow" Return to American Women! index page
"black arrow" Return to Hoover Library-Museum virtual exhibits page
"black arrow" Return to Hoover Library-Museum main index page