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Powerful Rosa Parks Quotes

Affectionately known as the 'Mother of the Civil Rights Movement', Parks is an American icon - and for good reason.

A young Rosa Parks

On 1 December 1955, the 42-year-old was going home from her job as a seamstress in her hometown of Montgomery, Alabama when she made history. After she boarded the bus and took a seat, she and the three others in her row were told by the driver to stand up and move to the back, making more seats for white passengers as the bus filled.

Famously, Parks refused to vacate the seat. Her courageous act of defiance resulted in her being arrested and later found guilty of disorderly conduct. In addition to the arrest, she lost her job as a seamstress and her husband also lost his job after being forbidden from talking about the legal case. Although Parks' brave actions landed her behind bars, her impact sparked change and catapulted her into history books.

For the remainder of her life, she continued to fight against racial prejudice and discrimination. Although Parks passed away in 2005, her legacy lives on. Just like her actions and courage influenced society, let these inspirational Rosa Parks quotes serve as a reminder to always fight for what’s right.

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

“I did not want to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time... there was an opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn't hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became.”

“Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.”

“I believe we are here on the planet Earth to live, grow up and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.”

“Each person must live their life as a model for others.”

"There were times when it would have been easy to fall apart or to go in the opposite direction, but somehow I felt that if I took one more step, someone would come along to join me."

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.”

“I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.”

“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.”

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