On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about this brave woman who helped kick-start the Civil Rights Movement..
Parks Had a Run In With the Same Bus Driver Years Earlier Her first conflict with James Blake, the bus driver who reported her to the police in 1955, came more than a decade earlier. In 1943, she boarded a bus driven by Blake, and after she paid her fare, he told her to exit and re-enter through the back doors—which was a rule for black riders. Instead of waiting for her to get back in, Blake drove away once she stepped off the bus. She managed to avoid the bus driver for more than 10 years until that memorable day in 1955 when she refused to give up her bus seat for a white passenger even though there were empty seats available. Blake called the police, and they placed Parks under arrest for civil disobedience.
She Wasn't The First Black Woman Who Refused To Give Up Her Seat
Few people know the story of Claudette Colvin. When she was 15-years-old, she refused to move to the back of the bus and give up her seat to a white person — nine months before Rosa Parks did the very same thing. Her actions were quickly overshadowed when Parks became the face of the Montgomery bus boycotts less than a year later.
Parks Was Arrested A Second Time For Civil Disobedience
Not long after her famous arrest, Rosa Parks found herself in trouble with the law once again. On February 22, 1956, Parks was arrested for a second time, along with nearly 100 others, for breaking the segregation laws during the bus boycott in Montgomery. The famous photo of Parks being fingerprinted by the police was actually taken on this date and often erroneously credited to her first arrest. The boycott lasted for 381 days and signaled the beginning of the civil rights movement.
The Founder Of Little Caesars Paid Her Rent For Many Years
In 1994, Rosa Parks was robbed and assaulted in her apartment in Detroit, Michigan. Mike Ilitch, the founder of Little Caesars, and owner of the Detroit Tigers, read the story in the newspaper and
offered to pay her rent at a new, safer high-rise apartment building with security. He and his wife quietly continued paying for the apartment until Parks died in 2005 at the age of 92.
She Was The First Woman Lain In Honor At The U.S. Capitol Parks' death was marked by several memorial services, among them, lying in honor at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., an honor that is reserved for the country’s most distinguished citizens. She was interred between her husband and mother at Detroit's Woodlawn Cemetery, in the chapel's mausoleum. Shortly after her death, the chapel was renamed the Rosa L. Parks Freedom Chapel.