Rosa Parks R.I.P. Oct 25, 2005 3:21:48 GMT -5
Post by Bazza on Oct 25, 2005 3:21:48 GMT -5
Rosa Parks, whose act of civil disobedience in 1955 inspired the modern civil rights movement, died Monday in Detroit, Michigan. She was 92.
Parks' moment in history began in December 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama.
Her arrest triggered a 381-day boycott of the bus system by blacks that was organized by a 26-year-old Baptist minister, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The boycott led to a court ruling desegregating public transportation in Montgomery, but it wasn't until the 1964 Civil Rights Act that all public accommodations nationwide were desegregated.
Facing regular threats and having lost her department store job because of her activism, Parks moved from Alabama to Detroit in 1957. She later joined the staff of U.S. Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat.
Conyers, who first met Parks during the early days of the civil rights struggle, recalled Monday that she worked on his original congressional staff when he first was elected to the House of Representatives in 1964.
"I think that she, as the mother of the new civil rights movement, has left an impact not just on the nation, but on the world,". "She was a real apostle of the nonviolence movement."
He remembered her as someone who never raised her voice -- an eloquent voice of the civil rights movement.
"You treated her with deference because she was so quiet, so serene -- just a very special person," he said, adding that "there was only one" Rosa Parks.
Gregory Reed, a longtime friend and attorney, said Parks died between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. of natural causes. He called Parks "a lady of great courage."
Parks co-founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development to help young people pursue educational opportunities, get them registered to vote and work toward racial peace.
"As long as there is unemployment, war, crime and all things that go to the infliction of man's inhumanity to man, regardless -- there is much to be done, and people need to work together," she once said.
Even into her 80s, she was active on the lecture circuit, speaking at civil rights groups and accepting awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999.
"This medal is encouragement for all of us to continue until all have rights," she said at the June 1999 ceremony for the latter medal.
Parks was the subject of the documentary "Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks," which received a 2002 Oscar nomination for best documentary short.