born 1913

The mother of the civil rights movement. Mother Parks. Secretary of the Montgomery NAACP. Aide to Detroit Congressman John Conyers. Activist. Challenger. Rosa Parks held many public positions during her life, but the last thing she was at all was a demure seamstress with aching feet, too tired to give up her seat. 

She never had an easy life, even after her rise to fame. As with many activists, she found it hard to get steady work. Her finances were often shaky, but she never lost her faith and positive outlook, even while acknowledging the mountains of work ahead for achieving racial equality.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Rosa Parks (12)

"As far back as I can remember I knew there was something wrong with our way of life when people could be mistreated because of the color of their skin."

NAACP meeting {quoted in "The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks"} | october 1956

"Integrating that bus wouldn't mean more equality. Even when there was segregation, there was plenty of integration in the South, but it was for the benefit and convenience of the white person, not us. So it is not just the integration."

The James Haskins Collection | unknown

"My only concern was to get home after a hard day's work."

TIME magazine | december 1975

"Knowing what must be done does away with fear."

Quiet Strength | 1994

"I think the American Dream should be to have a good life, and to live well, and to be a good citizen. I think that should apply to all of us."

Academy of Achievement | june 1995

"People need to free their minds of racial prejudice and believe in equality for all and freedom regardless of race."

How I fought for civil rights | january 1997

"If I have to face something, I do so no matter what. I have never had any desire to give up. I did not feel that giving up would be a way to become a free person."

How I fought for civil rights | 1997

"I am 83 years old, and I have come to realize that there is always more in life to learn."

Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialogue with Today's Youth | june 1997

"Love, not fear, must be our guide."

Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialogue with Today's Youth | june 1997

"It is easy for others to say we have come a long way, but our journey is not over. We should not let fear overcome us."

Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialogue with Today's Youth | june 1997

"One thing that I hope never changes: that young people continue to seek answers to their questions."

Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialogue with Today's Youth | september 1997

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

Rosa Parks: My Story | january 1999
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curated with care by Meghan Miller Brawley + Shelagh Bolger {may 2014}