SEE ALSO: Marian Anderson, Mary Church Terrell, Maya Angelou, Mary McLeod Bethune, Oprah Winfrey, Zora Neale Hurston, Patsy Mink, Jane Addams, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bella Abzug, Alice Paul, Mary Pickford, Venus & Serena Williams, Rosie The Riveter, Josephine Baker, Lucille Ball, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Walters, Sandra Day O’Connor, Carrie Chapman Catt, Katherine Graham
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: