She Stood Up by Sitting Down; ROSA PARKS, MOTHER OF CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, 1913-2005

Article excerpt


WORLD leaders last night paid tribute to Rosa Parks whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man sparked the struggle to end racial segregation in the US.

President George Bush said Mrs Parks - who died at the age of 92 - was "one of the most inspiring women of the 20th century".

He added: "This humble seamstress stood up to injustice by refusing a bus driver's order that she give up her seat for a white man."

And former US president Bill Clinton said: "She was an inspiration to me and to all who work for the day when we will be one America."

Mrs Parks made her stand against racism in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. She told police: "I'm tired of being treated like a second-class citizen."

Mrs Parks was arrested and thrown in jail. Civil rights activists, led by the Rev Martin Luther King, began a 381-day bus boycott. Mrs Parks challenged her conviction and the Supreme Court ended the laws which segregated whites and blacks in public places.

She said in 1985: "I had no idea it would turn into this. …