Putting her stamp on history: Rosa Parks


The U.S. Postal Service honored the legendary Rosa Parks with her own stamp on what would have been her 100th birthday.

Parks is best known for her 1955 act of civil disobedience, when she refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man. That act kicked off the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a seminal moment in the battle to end segregation. Her civil rights activism had started years before that, when she joined her local chapter of the NAACP. She served as its secretary through 1957. In her later years she worked as a seamstress in Detroit, and eventually, a receptionist in the local congressional office for Congressman John Conyers.

But it was her refusal to move to the back of the bus that earned her the title of “mother of the civil rights movement.” Reverend Al Sharpton, who spoke at her funeral in 2005, also called her the “mother of the nation.” As he said then, “Rosa Parks is not in history because she made some movie or sung some song. Rosa Parks is in history because she made this nation deal with changing the laws and policies of this nation unlike anybody else.”

On the 100th anniversary of her birth, Sharpton challenged all Americans to “make a Rosa resolution.”

“If you can’t speak up, write out,” he said. “If you can’t write out, participate, or do like Rosa: find a way to sit and get in the way.”