Education Obituary

Civil Rights Legend Rosa Parks Dies

By Ann Bradley — November 01, 2005 1 min read

Rosa Parks, whose arrest on Dec. 1, 1955, for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., helped spark the civil rights movement and earned her an enduring place in classroom lessons about that cause, died Oct. 24. She was 92.

The arrest of Ms. Parks, then a seamstress, prompted the 381-day Montgomery bus boycott, which led to a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court desegregating the city’s transportation system.

The U.S. Senate late last week passed a resolution permitting her remains to lie in honor in the rotunda of the Capitol, and the House of Representattives was considering the measure. Ms. Parks would be the first woman to receive that honor.

At least 12 public schools have been named after Ms. Parks. In addtion, in 1987, Ms. Parks and Elaine Eason Steele co-founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development in Detroit.

The nonprofit institute, whose name recognizes Ms. Parks and her late husband, seeks to train young people ages 11 to 17 in her philosophy of “quiet strength” through such programs as the Pathways to Freedom bus tours of key locations on the Underground Railroad and in the civil rights movement.

The institute plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the bus boycott with activities beginning in December. The Southern Poverty Law Center, in Birmingham, Ala., is offering a free kit, including a film, teaching guide, and classroom activities about Ms. Parks’ story, available to order at Teaching Tolerance.

A version of this article appeared in the November 02, 2005 edition of Education Week