Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. She is considered the first lady or “the mother” of the Civil Rights Movement.
On December 1, 1955, she was arrested after she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. This bold and courageous move initiated the
and inspired local black community leaders to organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott was led by a young Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It lasted one year and ended when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional.
Parks is a worldwide symbol of defiance, dignity, and a person who was determined to fight for
. She passed away on October 24, 2005. In celebration of her birthday, we put together a list of quotes that still matter today.
On the bus:
“I’d see the bus pass every day. But to me, that was a way of life; we had no choice but to accept what was the custom. The bus was among the first ways I realized there was a Black world and a white world.”
On why she stayed in her seat:
“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically … No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
On the boycott:
“During the Montgomery bus boycott, we came together and remained unified for 381 days. It has never been done again. The Montgomery boycott became the model for human rights throughout the world.”
On racial violence:
“Our freedom is threatened every time one of our young people is killed by another child… every time a person gets stopped and beaten by the police because of the color of their skin.”
“Have you ever been hurt and the place tries to heal a bit, and you just pull the scar off of it over and over again.”
On how to live:
“It is better to teach or live equality and love ... than to have hatred and prejudice.”
“We must have courage — determination — to go on with the task of becoming free — not only for ourselves but for the nation and the world — cooperate with each other. Have faith in God and ourselves.”
On conquering fear:
“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
On taking a step:
“There were times when it would have been easy to fall apart or to go in the opposite direction, but somehow I felt that if I took one more step, someone would come along to join me.”
“I believe we are here on the planet Earth to live, grow up and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.”
“Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.”
On life and death:
“Life is to be lived to its fullest so that death is just another chapter. Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds, will continue in others.”
On setting an example:
“Each person must live their life as a model for others.”
“I do the very best I can to look upon life with optimism and hope and looking forward to a better day, but I don’t think there is any such thing as complete happiness.”
On her legacy:
“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free ... so other people would be also free.”
These quotes still matter today because we’re still fighting a modern-day civil rights movement. The horrible murders of unarmed black people in 2020 like
, and many more sparked a new awakening in America. However, for over 400 years, black people in the U.S have been combating social injustice and we have ultimately been
as a nation.
With the recent chaos at the
, it's more clear than ever that White Supremacy is a huge problem in our nation and in order for things to get better, real change has to be made.