Rosa Parks was an African American civil rights activist who became a symbol of the struggle for equality, when she refused to give her seat to a white man in a public bus.
Parks had a history of participating in protests, even before her actions led to the 1955-1956 bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.
Shortly after, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision declaring Montgomery’s segregated seating in public transit, unconstitutional. For her role in igniting the successful campaign, Parks became known as the “mother of the civil rights movement.”
Parks continued to participate in civil rights activism to end segregation and discrimination. From 1965 to 1988, she served as a staff member for Michigan Congressman John Conyers, Jr.
She was active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which established an annual Freedom Award in her honor. Parks also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.