Rosa Parks - Mother of the Civil Rights Movement


Rosa Parks was an African American seamstress who is remembered for her bravery and how she helped bring racial segregation in America to an end.

On December 1, 1955 she was ordered to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery Alabama bus. When she refused to move, the bus driver had her arrested.  She was fined for breaking the law.

According to Alabama law at that time, white people sat in the front rows of a bus and black people sat in the back rows. When the black section was full they had to stand.  When more white people boarded the bus the blacks had to get up and give their seats to the whites. Sometimes blacks had to get on the bus at the front, pay the fare to the bus driver, get off and enter again through the back door.



Parks’ action led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted for over a year. It was led by Martin Luther King. He urged African Americans in Montgomery not to use the city buses and demanded an end to segregation. In the months during the boycott African Americans in Montgomery were threatened and attacked. In 1956 the American Supreme Court ruled that segregation on buses was illegal.

What Rosa Parks did gave the civil rights movement more momentum. In the years that followed African Americans fought harder for equal rights until, finally, in 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed.



Rosa Parks is often called the mother of the civil rights movement. In her later life she remained an activist and fought for racial justice. After the incident Rosa Parks lost her job and moved to Detroit where she spent the rest of her life. She founded an institute that shows young people how important civil rights are. Rosa Parks died in 2002 at the age of 92.



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  • according to = as stated by …
  • action = what someone did
  • activist = protester
  • African American = an American with dark skin , whose family originally  came from the part of Africa south of the Sahara desert
  • arrest = a person is taken to a police station because they may have done something that is against the law
  • board = get on
  • boycott = here: not to use buses
  • bravery = courage
  • civil rights = the right that every person should have , like the right to vote in an election or the right to be treated the same as others
  • demand = to ask for something because you think you have the right to
  • fare = the money you pay to travel on a bus or train
  • fine = to make someone pay as  punishment
  • found – founded = start
  • illegal = against the law
  • incident = event , happening
  • law = the rules of a country , state or city
  • lead –led = person who shows the way
  • movement = group of people who work together because they have the same ideas or want the same things
  • racial justice = people of all skin colors  should be treated equally
  • racial segregation = when people of different races have to live and work apart from each other
  • refuse = to say no
  • remain = stay
  • seamstress = woman who sews and makes cloths
  • Supreme Court = the highest court in the country
  • threaten = to say that you will harm someone if they do not do what you want
  • urge = advise, say people should do something