Rosa Parks (1913–2005), an African American seamstress and active member of the NAACP, refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white rider and sparked the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955–1956. Born and raised in Alabama, Parks became interested in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1930s. In 1943 she became a member of the NAACP and served as the Montgomery chapter’s secretary until 1956. Her protest and arrest on December 1, 1955, made her a nationally known figure. Five days later the Montgomery bus boycott began under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. Black passengers refused to ride the bus until the segregation policy was eliminated. The boycott lasted for 381 days, until the Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s ruling that intrastate bus segregation was unconstitutional. Parks continued her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement after the boycott and took part in the marches of 1963 and 1965. She later worked for Congressman John Conyers. Before her death in 2005, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1996) and the Congressional Gold Medal (1999).

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