Her father, James McCauley, was a carpenter,and her mother, Leona (Edward’s) McCauley was a teacher. Rosa P. had oneHer family lived in Tuskegee. When Rosa was two years-old her parentssplit up and she, her mother, and her brother moved to her grandparents farm inNearby Pine Level, Alabama.
Her grandparents were one of the few blackfamilies who owned their own land, rather than work for someone else. Althoughthey were poor, they were able to raise enough food for all. During the first half of this century for all blacks living in America skincolor affected every part of their lives. The South in particular was very racist.
Slavery had been abolished only by some fifty years earlier, and blacks were stillhated and were feared by whites because of skin color. Jim Crow had a law “separate but equal. ” The Supreme Court ruled in1896, that equal protection could not mean separate but equal facilities. Blackswere made to feel inferior to whites in every way.
They were restricted in theirchoices of housing and jobs, were forced to attend segregated schools, and wereprohibited from using many restaurants, movie theaters. Rosa Parks said, yearslater, “Whites would accuse you of causing trouble when all of you were doingwas acting like a normal human being, instead of crining. You didn’t have to waitfor a lynching. You died each time you found yourself face to face with this kindRosa Parks didn’t like attending a poor, one-room school, with few booksor supplies, not being able to stop on her way home from school to get a sodaor a candybar.
She hated how they were parts for blacks like restaurants, trains,and bus and even being forced to give up her seat for a white person. Rosa’s mother, Leona McCauley, worked as a teacher, and the wholefamily knew the value of education. Rosa attended the local black elementaryschool, where her mother was the only teacher. When she graduated, the familyworked hard to save enough money to send her to a private school for blackgirls. At the age of 11 she began to attend Montgomery Industrial School forGirls. At the age of 13, she started a Booker T.
Washington Junior High, a blackpublic school in Montgomery. When she graduated, two years later no publichigh schools in Montgomery were open to black students, who were then forcedto abandon their education. The McCauley family was determined that Rosawould succeed, and they worked together to raise enough money to send her toAlabama State College to finish her high school classes. When Rosa was closeto graduating, though , the family fell on hard times and could no longer affordschools, etc.
Her grandfather had died a few years earlier, and her grandmotherbecame ill. Rosa decided to leave school for a while to help take care for her andto help out on the family farm. Her grandmother died soon after, and then hermother also became ill. Rosa was forced to abandon her classes for good. In 1931, Rosa met and fell in love with Raymond Parks, a barber who wasactive in civil rights causes. They were married in 1932 and settled inMontgomery.
Raymond Parks encouraged Rosa to finish her education, and shereceived her high school diploma from Alabama State College in 1933. After her marriage, Rosa Parks worked at several different jobs, as aninsurance saleswoman and as a seamstress, doing alterrations either in a shop orin peoples homes. Through the Depression, both Parks and her husband werefortunate to be able to find regular work. Leaders in the black community planned the strategy to challenge parksarrest, because she sat in a white seat in a bus. To protest the unfair treatmentand to show their strengh, they decided to stage a one- day boycott of the city’sbuses on the coming Monday.
As Nixon said, ” The only way to make thepower structure do away with segregation is to take some money out of theirpockets,” and considering that 70 percent or more of the Montgomery bus riderswere black, they were in position to do just that. Ministers of black churcheswere soon involved in the planning, including Rev. Ralph Abernathy and .