SEE ALSO: Mary McLeod Bethune, Marian Anderson, Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Bella Abzug, Patsy Mink, Jane Addams, Sonia Sotomayor, Eleanor Roosevelt, Zora Neale Hurston, Venus & Serena Williams, Tina Fey, Billie Jean King, Faye Wattleton, Josephine Baker, Lucille Ball, Alice Paul, Mary Church Terrell, Sandra Day O’Connor, Geraldine Ferraro, Shirley Chisholm, Carrie Chapman Catt, Madeline Albright
1913 – 2005
Standing up for Sitting Down
While serving as secretary of her local NAACP, Rosa Parks ignited the civil rights movement with a single bus ride. In Montgomery, Alabama, in the 1950s, segregation laws applied to the seats on the city’s buses. African-American men and women were required to pay their fare to the driver, then get off the bus and re-board the bus using the back door, sitting in the rear section. If the white section in the front was full, a black person had to give up his or her seat in the back, and more to further to the rear or stand. On December 1, 1955, Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus in Montgomery. She took her seat in the front row of “the colored section,” but was soon asked to move by a white person. Parks refused to give up her seat, and was arrested. She was arrested for violating the segregation laws. On the first day of her trial, thousands of blacks boycotted Montgomery’s busses, walking to work or taking cabs driven by blacks. Montgomery’s bus boycott lasted 381 days, until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation violated the U.S. Constitution.
Aida Alvarez: Eugenie Moore Anderson: Ethel Andrus: Shirley Temple Black: Carol Moseley Braun: Jane Margaret Byrne: Genevieve Cline: Josefina Fierro de Bright: Susan R. Estrich: Phyllis Gibson: Ella Grasso: Mary Harriman Rumsey: Penny Harrington: Barbara Jordan: Adelina Otero-Warren: Carrie Saxon Perry: Condoleezza Rice: Mary Louise Smith: Marion Stubbs Thomas: Tracey Thurman: Johnnie Tillman: Barbara Watson: Susan Rice: Susana Martinez: