Where Are They Now? Civil Rights Figure Rosa Parks Part 2

About the famous black civil rights figure Rosa Parks who refused to give up her seat on a bus, history and biography then and now.


Headline--1955: ROSA PARKS

On Monday, Rosa Parks was tried, found guilty, and fined. Her case was appealed. On that same day, the bus boycott by blacks started. It was an unqualified success. Planned originally for one day, it ended 381 days after Rosa Parks's ladylike resistance triggered it. And the Negroes discovered, perhaps to their amazement, that they did have an effective source of power--pocketbook power. The nearly empty buses meant losses in revenue, and in time the company went broke.

The frustrated mayor of Montgomery, W. A. Gayle, leader of the segregationists, had King and other leaders arrested for operating a carpool business without a franchise. They went on trial in state circuit court, but were freed when the Supreme Court ruled that "discrimination on buses was a violation of federal law."

Negroes as well as white sympathizers rejoiced, and persuasive preacher Martin Luther King with a Ph.D. from Boston University was catapulted into the lead position of the struggle for civil rights. The still-pending Rosa Parks case was dropped.

And Today: Detroit, Mich., has been Rosa Parks's home for 20 years. She and her husband, Raymond, settled there in 1957. Moving north apparently had nothing to do with what happened to her in the South.

"We moved to Detroit because my only brother lived there and I wanted to be near him," Mrs. Parks is quoted as saying. She explained that they stayed in Montgomery until things were quite, which was before the students became active.

In Detroit, in order to supplement the income of her husband, a barber, she worked as a seamstress until the spring of 1965. After that she was hired as a secretary in the office of Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.).

There are those of her admirers who feel she never has been given enough recognition. It is doubtful whether Mrs. Parks shares this feeling. Throughout the years she has been the recipient of many honors, and frequently she was photographed with Martin Luther King, Jr.

A $3 million junior high school in Detroit bears her name.

In August, 1977, the press reminded the country's readers again of Rosa Parks. On front pages was the news that Frank M. Johnson of Montgomery, Ala., had agreed to become director of the FBI. (He later withdrew because of illness.) By way of backgrounding the social attitudes of the new FBI chief, it was explained that when he moved to Alabama as the youngest federal judge in the U.S., he declared unconstitutional the ordinance Rosa Parks defied.

Rosa Parks doesn't have children of her own to perpetuate her existence. However, it seems unlikely her name will be forgotten by future generations. It is firmly inscribed in this country's history.

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