Rosa Parks - Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen

Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen (2016)

Rosa Parks

Born and raised in segregated Alabama, Rosa Parks (1913-2005) sparked a movement when she refused to move to the back of the bus, even though she wasn’t the first to do so. Though revisionist history has labeled her as being old and tired at the time, she cleared the record and stated that the only thing she was tired of that fateful day was giving in. The night after her arrest in 1955, the seminal event of the civil rights movement was born: the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Over the next 381 days, instead of taking the bus, forty thousand African-Americans in Alabama carpooled, taxied, and walked to work and school. As a result of the boycott, a civil suit finally ruled Alabama’s bus segregation laws unconstitutional. Parks became a national hero and the face of the civil rights movement, although at great personal cost—she was fired from her job and menaced with death threats for the rest of her life. The boycott gave impetus to the formation of a new civil rights organization, the Montgomery Improvement Association, and they elected a young and unknown minister as its president—Martin Luther King, Jr.

Throughout her life, Parks worked with the NAACP and the Black Power Movement and as a secretary for a U.S. representative, John Conyers. While working for Conyers, Parks was a strong advocate for desegregating housing and the defense of political prisoners. Rosa Parks acted with courage in the wrong place at a bad time, and that turned out to be the perfect move at the right time.

Isn’t riding by your rules