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If you like Rosa Parks's story, you might also like:
Maya Angelou,
Ernest J. Gaines,
Frank M. Johnson,
Coretta Scott King,
John Lewis,
Willie Mays,
Sidney Poitier,
Colin Powell,
Anthony Romero,
Bill Russell,
Albie Sachs,
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,
Elie Wiesel,
Oprah Winfrey
and Andrew Young

Teachers can find prepared lesson plans featuring Rosa Parks in the Achievement Curriculum area:
The Road to Civil Rights
Advocacy & Citizenship
Freedom and Justice
Black History Month

Rosa Parks also appears in the video:
President George Bush: Lessons of Leadership

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Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks
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Rosa Parks Interview (page: 2 / 3)

Pioneer of Civil Rights

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  Rosa Parks

What are your thoughts when you look back on that time in your life. Any regrets?

As I look back on those days, it's just like a dream. The only thing that bothered me was that we waited so long to make this protest and to let it be known wherever we go that all of us should be free and equal and have all opportunities that others should have.

What personal characteristics do you think are most important to accomplish something?

Rosa Parks Interview Photo
Rosa Parks: I think it's important to believe in yourself and when you feel like you have the right idea, to stay with it. And of course, it all depends upon the cooperation of the people around. People were very cooperative in getting off the buses. And from that, of course, we went on to other things. I, along with Mrs. Field, who was here with me, organized the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development. Raymond, my husband--he is now deceased--was another person who inspired me, because he believed in freedom and equality himself.

You were married during the bus incident.

Rosa Parks: Yes, I was.

How old were you?

Rosa Parks: When I was arrested, I was 42 years old. There were so many needs for us to continue to work for freedom, because I didn't think that we should have to be treated in the way were, just for the sake of white supremacy, because it was designed to make them feel superior, and us feel inferior. That was the whole plan of racially enforced segregation.

What people inspired you as a child?

Rosa Parks: My family, I would say, my mother, and my maternal grandparents. I grew up with them.

My mother was a teacher in a little school, and she believed in freedom and equality for people, and did not have the notion that we were supposed to live as we did, under legally enforced racial segregation. She didn't believe in it.

[ Key to Success ] Vision

How did she impart that to you?

Rosa Parks Interview Photo
Rosa Parks: Just by her attitude and the way she talked. We were human beings and we should be treated as such.

She instilled that feeling in you.

Rosa Parks: It was just the way I grew up. Yes, she did. Of course, my grandfather had the same ideas, as well as my grandmother.

What was their background?

Rosa Parks: Both of them were born before the emancipation, before slavery ended. And they suffered a lot, as children they were in slavery and of course, after slavery was not that much better, but I guess it was some better. They were farmers in a rural area in Alabama.

They must have suffered.

Rosa Parks: Yes, especially my grandfather.

Was there a teacher that influenced you?

Rosa Parks Interview Photo
Rosa Parks: My mother was a teacher and I went to the same school where she was teaching. My very first teacher was Miss Sally Hill, and I liked her very much. In fact, I liked school when I was very young, in spite of the fact that it was a one-room school for students all ages, from the very young to teens, as long as they went to school. It was only a short term for us, five months every year, instead of the regular nine months every year.

You still flourished in this school, despite all that.

Rosa Parks: I liked to read books anyway, and my mother taught me to read even before I began school.

What books did you like to read?

Rosa Parks: Mostly the little stories that they had in the school books, and fairy tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood, and those stories, just what they had for young children.

Do you think reading is important?

Rosa Parks: Yes, it's very important. And I always liked to read, especially historic books. I still do like to read.

What was it like in Montgomery when you were growing up?

Rosa Parks: Back in Montgomery during my growing up there, it was completely legally enforced racial segregation, and of course, I struggled against it for a long time. I felt that it was not right to be deprived of freedom when we were living in the Home of the Brave and Land of the Free. Of course, when I refused to stand up, on the orders of the bus driver, for a white passenger to take the seat, and I was not sitting in the front of the bus, as so many people have said, and neither was my feet hurting, as many people have said. But I made up my mind that I would not give in any longer to legally-imposed racial segregation and of course my arrest brought about the protests for more than a year. And in doing so, Dr. Martin Luther King became prominent because he was the leader of our protests along with many other people. And I'm very glad that this experience I had then brought about a movement that triggered across the United States and in other places.

[ Key to Success ] Courage

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This page last revised on Mar 05, 2014 00:23 EDT
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