Rosa Parks, circa 1955
Rosa Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist best known for her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Born Rosa Louise McCauley in Tuskegee, Alabama, Rosa Parks grew up living with her mother and grandparents in Pine Level, Alabama. She was forced to quit school at age 16 to take care of her sick grandmother and then her mother.
In 1932, at age 19, she married Raymond Parks and soon after earned her high school diploma. Parks and her husband were active in the Montgomery, Alabama, chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which Rosa joined in 1943.
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger, resulting in her arrest. Local civil rights activists arranged a boycott of the segregated Montgomery bus system to correspond with the day of Parks’ trial. The 381-day-long bus boycott proved successful, and the city of Montgomery was forced to desegregate its public transportation following a 1956 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
In 1957, Rosa and her husband moved to Detroit, Michigan, where she worked in the office of Congressman John Conyers Jr. from 1965 until her retirement in 1988. In her later life, Parks continued to be involved in the civil rights movement and also championed women’s rights causes.
In 1996, Rosa Parks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and in 1999 was given the Congressional Gold Medal. Following her death in 2005, she became the first woman to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.
Learn more about Rosa Parks through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about Rosa Parks
Newspaper report of Rosa Parks' arrest in 1955 that sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott Fri, Dec 2, 1955 – 9 · The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) · Newspapers.comArticle about the planning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott Sun, Dec 4, 1955 – 1 · The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) · Newspapers.comPhotos from the first day of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 Tue, Dec 6, 1955 – 1 · The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) · Newspapers.comArticle about the first day of the bus boycott; mentions Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Tue, Dec 6, 1955 – 1 · The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) · Newspapers.comAccount of Rosa Park's trial for refusing to give up her seat on the bus Tue, Dec 6, 1955 – 6 · The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) · Newspapers.comMontgomery newspaper headlines about the Supreme Court's 1956 ruling to end bus segregation Wed, Nov 14, 1956 – 1 · The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) · Newspapers.comTimeline of events during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, from Rosa Parks to the Supreme Court decision Wed, Nov 14, 1956 – 2 · The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) · Newspapers.comBook review of Rosa Parks' 1992 autobiography, "My Story" Sat, Jul 4, 1992 – Page 15 · The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) · Newspapers.comNewspaper headlines of Rosa Parks being attacked in her home in 1994 Wed, Aug 31, 1994 – Page 1 · Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan) · Newspapers.comPhoto and article about Rosa Parks being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 Mon, Sep 16, 1996 – Page 6 · The Town Talk (Alexandria, Louisiana) · Newspapers.comPhoto and article about Rosa Parks being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999 Wed, Jun 16, 1999 – 6 · The Montana Standard (Butte, Montana) · Newspapers.comArticle about the Rosa Parks/OutKast lawsuit settlement in 2005 Fri, Apr 15, 2005 – 2 · The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) · Newspapers.comRosa Parks lies in honor at the Capitol Rotunda following her death in 2005 Mon, Oct 31, 2005 – Page 3 · Lansing State Journal (Lansing, Michigan) · Newspapers.comCommentary on Rosa Parks' legacy and accomplishments, following her death in 2005 Wed, Nov 2, 2005 – 15 · Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan) · Newspapers.com