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Rosa Parks - Example of Courage and Determination

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"The only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

Rosa Parks is an excellent example of courage and determination. She's an inspiring symbol for all African Americans to remain free. Rosa is often referred to as the "mother of the civil rights movement." She is strong willed and straight forward. Rosa Parks never expected to be famous, she did what she felt was right, just like all heroes.

Rosa Louise McCauley was born in Tuskegee, Alabama on February 4, 1913. She was born to parents, Leona Edwards and James McCauley. Her father, James, was a carpenter and her mother, Leona, was a teacher. When her parents divorced, she moved to Pine Level, Alabama with her mother. Edwards home schooled Rosa until she was eleven, where she then went to Montgomery Industrial School for Girls.

In 1932, Rosa married Raymond Parks, a barber from Montgomery. She was elected secretary for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), where she served from 1943-1956. Rosa and Raymond became members of the voters' league. Sometime after 1944, she worked shortly at Maxwell Air Force Base. Rosa later worked as a housekeeper and seamstress for Clifford and Virginia Durr.

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks rode home from work on a segregated bus. The bus was filling up quickly until one white man was left standing. She was sitting in the midsection, designated for whites and blacks. Since the man standing up was white, the bus driver asked Rosa to give up her seat. When Rosa refused to get up after the bus driver, James Blake, asked her repeatedly, he called the police to arrest her.

After Rosa's arrest, the woman's council decided to organize a boycott of the Montgomery city buses. They decided at a mass meeting that since the first day of the boycott was a success, they would continue. The boycott ended up lasting for one year and sixteen days. On December 20, 1956, the official written court order ruling that segregation on the Montgomery buses was unconstitutional. The boycott would later mark the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.

Rosa and Raymond moved to Detroit, Michigan to start a new life. After the boycott, she lost her job for the Durr's. In 1965, Rosa began working as a receptionist and office assistant for U.S. representative, John Conyers. Rosa's husband, Raymond parks, died from cancer in 1957. In honor of Raymond, Rosa and her friend, Elaine Steele, founded the Rosa and Raymond Institute for Self Development in 1987. The community based institute would help youth continue their education and have hope for their future. The institute takes students through historical walks and offer classes with report to historical research on the continent of Africa. It also offers classes and workshops for self-improvement, in regards to personal growth.

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