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Profile of Detroit Historical Figure Rosa Parks

The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement


Updated September 08, 2010



Detroit Connection:

Parks moved to Detroit with her husband in 1957 – shortly after the Alabama bus boycott. In Detroit, she worked on the staff of U.S. representative John Conyers and established the Rosa & Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. The State of Michigan honored her by establishing Mrs. Rosa Parks’ Day, which is celebrated on the first Monday following February 4th.

Parks died in Detroit in 2005.


Rosa Louise McCauley was born in Alabama and lived on her grandparents’ farm for most of her childhood. She enrolled in the Montgomery Industrial School for Girls at age 11 and eventually moved on to attend the Alabama State Teachers College. She married Raymond Parks and settled in Montgomery, where she and her husband joined the NAACP and she worked as a seamstress.


On December 1st , 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger and was arrested pursuant to a city ordinance. The arrest eventually resulted in a boycott of the city-owned bus company that lasted for over a year. Parks' appeal of her arrest eventually resulted in the ordinance being found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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