ON THIS DAY IN UNITED STATES HISTORY
December 1, 1955
Rosa Parks Refuses to Give Up Her Seat
On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks, a black seamstress and civil rights activist, refused to give up her seat on a
bus to a white man. Her actions sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and lead to a social protest campaign that
resulted in a Supreme Court decision that made laws requiring segregated buses unconstitutional.
Rosa Parks was born February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama to James McCauley and Leona Edwards. Under Jim Crow
laws, black and white people were segregated in the South requiring them to sit in separate sections on the bus.
Although her autobiography describes acts of kindness to her from white strangers in her early years, she also
endured severe racism. She described how her grandfather guarded the front door with a shotgun and how a school for
blacks was burned and the faculty harassed by the white community. Rosa Parks was eventually considered by the U.S.
Congress to be the "Mother of the Modern Day Civil Right Movement".