Rosa Parks hardly needs an introduction. Most of us know she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man, which spurred the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, leading to a court case that finally declared segregation illegal, and a chipping away at the segregation and Jim Crow laws of the South. She is an icon. But she was also a person who just wanted to live her life without arbitrary and unconscionable rules. Not a lot to ask. But she gave a lot, going into the limelight for us, getting arrested, and continuing throughout her life to work for racial equality.
Here are some quotes from Rosa Parks:
“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.”
“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.”
“Each person must live their life as a model for others.”
There are so many great books by and about Rosa Parks that you just need to check your library’s card catalog or Amazon or your local bookstore. I’ve listed a few below. My favorite recent picture book about her, simply titled ROSA, is told warmly and honestly in a down to earth yet poetic way by Nikki Giovanni, with beautiful, haunting illustrations you can actually feel by Bryan Collier. Look at the cover — can’t you feel that policeman getting in your face? And Rosa’s eyes, a mix of weariness, fear, and resolve? Brilliant, Bryan, brilliant.