What Is Rosa Parks Famous For?

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Rosa Parks is most famous for her refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Ala. bus on Dec. 1, 1955. During that time, U.S. segregation laws demanded African-Americans sit in the back seats of the bus, and to automatically give up their seat if a white person requested it. Rosa Parks was arrested and fined for her refusal. Her arrest was a catalyst for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which began the Civil Rights Movement.

Rosa Parks boarded the bus after a day of work as a seamstress at the Montogomery Fair department store. She took a seat right behind the section reserved for whites. Parks sat alongside three other African-Americans. The white section began to fill, and one white passenger was in need of a seat. The other three African-American passengers emptied the row after being harshly admonished by the driver to "Let me have those front seats." Parks, however, quietly refused and remained seated. Although there was now room for the white passenger, laws stated that white passengers should not sit near African-American passengers.

As the driver and Rosa Parks waited for the police to arrive, Parks remained in the seat at the risk of being mistreated by the driver and passengers. She was placed in jail, found guilty after a 30-minute trial and fined $14 including court costs.