The influence of family can be a powerful thing. When asked who inspired her as a child, Rosa Parks, an extraordinary American activist, answered: “My family, I would say, my mother, and my maternal grandparents. I grew up with them.”
On December 1, 1955, Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a white man. Her arrest sparked a boycott of the Montgomery bus system that lasted longer than a year, posing an ultimately successful challenge to racial segregation and inspiring others to similar action.
“My mother was a teacher in a little school,” she said later, “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. . . . We were human beings and we should be treated as such.”
Rosa Parks’s lifelong dedication to civil rights has influenced generations of Americans, maybe even in your own family. Use the worksheets below to trace your roots and discover how the struggle for equality impacts you.
Released on February 4, 2013, the Rosa Parks Forever® stamp is the second stamp in the 2013 civil rights stamp set. The first stamp, commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation, was released on January 1 and has been so popular that USPS ordered a second printing of 10 million more stamps. The third stamp in the 2013 civil rights set commemorates the 1963 March on Washington and was released on August 23 in a moving ceremony at The Newseum in Washington, D.C. You can find the entire set online at usps.com/stamps, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), or at your local post office.