Life – Rosa Parks was born only a month before world war one started in Europe on February 4, 1913. Parks mother worked as a school teacher in Tuskegee, Alabama. James McCauley, Rosa’s dad was a carpenter. They lived in Tuskegee and owned farmland of their own.
After Sylvester was born, Rosa’s little brother, her father left them and went off to live in another town. He had been cheated out of his farmland by a white man and couldn’t support the family any longer. Rosa her mother and her brother then moved to live with her grandparents on a farm in Pinelevel, which lay between Tuskegee and Montgomery, Alabama. It was a small plot of land, but it kept them all fed. From this point on Rosa was mainly brought up by her Grandparents with the assistance of her mother. Rosa gave up school when she came close to graduating, around the same time Rosa got married.
Raymond Parks married Rosa McCauley December 18, 1932. He was a barber from Wedowee County, Alabama. He had little formal education but a thirst for knowledge. Her husband, Raymond Parks, encouraged her to finish her courses. In 1934 she received her diploma from Alabama State College. She was happy that she completed her education but had little hope of getting a better job.
When Rosa had finished school she was lucky enough to get a job as a seamstress in a local sewing factory. Prior to the bus incident Rosa was still fighting. She had run-ins with bus drivers and was evicted from buses. Parks recalls the humiliation: “I didn’t want to pay my fare and then go around the back door, because many times, even if you did that, you might not get on the bus at all. They’d probably shut the door, drive off, and leave you standing there.”
An event to remember.
…- While the fight by blacks for civil rights had been going on for years, it took one middle-aged black woman with tired feet and a strong will to really get the battle going. On the 1st of December 1955, seamstress Mrs. Rosa Parks, was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for not standing and letting a white bus rider take her seat, she was found guilty of the crime of disorderly conduct with a fine of fourteen dollars.
Parks was arrested for violating a city law that required all blacks to sit in separate rows on the buses. She refused to give up her seat in the middle of the row when a white person wished to sit in her row. Blacks had to sit in the back and the front rows were for whites only. Rosa Parks was physically tired, but no more than you or I after a long day’s work. In fact, under other circumstances, she would have probably given up her seat willingly to a child or elderly person. But this time Parks was tired of the treatment she and other African Americans received every day of their lives, with the racism, segregation, and laws of the time.
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, was arrested December 1, 1955. (Note: It was an “established rule” in the American south (at that time) that African-American bus riders had to sit at the back of the bus. African-American riders were also expected to surrender their seat to a white bus rider if it was needed.) Mrs. Parks was not the first African-American to be arrested for this crime but she was the first to be arrested who was well known in the Montgomery African-American community. Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was the pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery. He and other African-American community leaders felt a protest of some kind was needed. A meeting was called and an overflowing crowd came to the church to hear his words. Dr. King told the crowd that the only way they could fight back would be to boycott the bus company.
Then Dr. King and the other African-American community leaders held another meeting to organize future action. .