Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. She was an African American civil rights activist who is best known for her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Parks was born Rosa Louise McCauley as the youngest of James and Leona Edwards McCauley’s four children. She grew up in Pine Level, Alabama and attended school there until she dropped out at the age of 15 to work as a housekeeper and caretaker for her grandmother.
In 1932, she married Raymond Parks, whom she had met while they were both working at Maxwell Air Field in Tuskegee. He became an active member of the NAACP and helped found the Montgomery branch of that organization in 1943. Rosa Parks worked briefly as a maid before becoming president of the local chapter of the NAACP from 1943 until 1957.
In 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white man after the whites-only section filled up with passengers during a ride home from work. Her arrest led to protests by members of Montgomery’s black community who refused to use public transportation until segregationist rules were changed by law. After several months of protest, city leaders agreed to desegregate buses.