February 4, 2021
By Nate Little and Alexander Shragis
As part of Black History Month, the Phoenix present Nate’s Favorite Facts: A Journey Through African American History.
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks’ Birthday
Born February 4th, 1913, today would have been the 107th birthday of Rosa Parks. A Civil-Rights icon, Rosa Parks was an active member of her National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples (NAACP) chapter in Montgomery Alabama, which she joined in 1943. She became the secretary of her chapter, and actively participated in many different organization efforts, including raising funds for Claudette Colvin, a 15 year old, who was the first bus passenger to be arrested in Montgomery for refusing to give up her seat to a white person.
Rosa Parks is best known for her role in the Montgomery bus boycott--which began December 1st, 1955--when she refused to give up her seat despite being ordered to by the bus driver, James Blake. Rosa Parks was arrested and dragged off the bus by authorities. She then launched a boycott, calling on the Black community of Montgomery Alabama to stay off the busses that next week. The boycott would continue for 381 days, wreaking havoc on the transportation system, until the city was forced to desegregate its public transit after the Supreme Court case, Browder v. Gayle, deemed it unconstitutional.
Rosa Parks never stopped pushing for equal rights, and continued to fight against any signs of injustice against African Americans. Today, we honor her commitment to human rights and her indomitable will.
“I was not tired physically … or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” (Rosa Parks: My Story)