Rosa Parks Timeline
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YearMonthDayTimeEnd YearEnd MonthEnd DayEnd TimeDisplay DateHeadlineTextMediaMedia CreditMedia CaptionMedia ThumbnailTypeGroupBackground
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191324Rosa Parks Is BornRosa Louise McCauley is born in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her brother Sylvester is born two years later. She is raised by her mother and grandparents in Pine Level, Alabama.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Sampson-Smith-w.-Rosa-McCauley-Parks.pngSampson Smith with Rosa McCauley Parks. Retrieved from <a href="https://www.loc.gov/item/2015647353/">Visual Materials from the Rosa Parks Papers (Library of Congress).</a>
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1923Surge of Klan ViolenceFollowing World War I, an upsurge of white violence rippled across the country, in part targeted at returning black soliders. Rosa's grandfather Sylvester Edwards, a supporter of Black nationalist Marcus Garvey, sat out at night on the porch with his shotgun to protect the family home. Sometimes a 6-year-old Rosa would sit vigil with him.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Ku_Klux_Klan_rally_in_Calera_Alabama_during_which_a-700x262.jpgKu Klux Klan rally in Calera, Alabama, during which a "a class of one hundred aliens" is being "naturalized before the fiery cross." Courtesy of Alabama. Dept. of Archives and History.
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1924Attends Montgomery Industrial School for GirlsKnown as Miss White's, the school was modeled on Booker T. Washington's philosophy of industrial training, domestic arts and academic subjects. The school also inculcated a sense of possibility and self-respect among the young African American women who attended it--and many women who would be key to the Montgomery bus boycott (like Parks, Johnnie Carr, and Mary Fair Burks) attended the school.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Students_in_front_of_Reyholds_Hall_at_the_Alabama_Girls_Industrial_School_in_Montevallo_Alabama-700x556.jpgStudents in front of Reyholds Hall at the Alabama Girls Industrial School in Montevallo, Alabama. Courtesy of Alabama. Dept. of Archives and History.
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1931321Scottsboro Boys’ arrestIn 1931, Rosa McCauley met and fell in love with a politically-active barber, Raymond Parks — the “first real activist I ever met.” When they began seeing each other, Raymond was working to free the Scottsboro boys, nine young men picked up for riding the rails, wrongly accused of rape, and sentenced to death in 1931 Alabama. Rosa and Raymond married in December 1932 “right in the middle of the campaign to save the Scottsboro Boys.
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<a href="http://rosaparksbiography.org/bio/scottsboro-boys">Read more about the Scottsboro boys</a>
http://rosaparksbiography.org/bio/files/2017/02/Scottsboro-Boys-with-the-National-Guard.3.26.31.jpgScottsboro Boys with the National Guard March 26, 1931http://scalar.usc.edu/works/the-rebellious-life-of-mrs-rosa-parks/media/Scottsboro-Boys-with-the-National-Guard.3.26.31.jpg
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1943Montgomery NAACPAfter seeing a picture of a former classmate in a picture of the Montgomery NAACP, Parks realizes that women can be part of the branch. She goes to her first meeting on branch election day; the only woman there, she is elected secretary that very first day.
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19431945Registering to VoteRosa Parks made it known at the NAACP meeting that she wanted to register to vote. Longtime organizer E.D. Nixon brought her materials, beginning a decade-long partnership that would change the nation as the two worked to transform the Montgomery NAACP into a more activist branch . Parks tried to register in 1943 and 1944 but did not succeed. Finally in 1945, she was considering filing suit and wrote down all the questions and her answers; the registrar noticed and didn't want any trouble and Parks passed the test. http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/African_American_woman_standing_behind_a_street_sign_while_polling_voters_in_Montgomery_Alabama.jpgAfrican American woman standing behind a street sign while polling voters in Montgomery, Alabama. Photo by Scott, John Engelhardt. Courtesy of Alabama Dept. of Archives and History.
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1944Viola White ArrestedViola White was arrested and beaten by police for refusing to give up her seat on the bus. She decided to pursue a legal case and police retaliated and raped her daughter. White's case continued to be tied up in state court.
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194493Recy Taylor KidnappingRecy Taylor is kidnapped and raped by gang of white men; Rosa Parks would seek justice for Taylor through her Montgomery NAACP work but the men who raped Taylor were never indicted. Nixon and Parks helped the Taylor family relocate to Montgomery for their own safety.http://www.colorlines.com/sites/default/files/styles/article_lead_normal/public/images/articles/2011/03/recytaylopaper031411.jpg?itok=ncLkFfor&timestamp=1429386402Recy Taylor, Willie Guy Taylor, and their child, Joyce Lee Taylor (Courtesy of the Chicago Defender). Newspaper images below courtesy of Danielle L. McGuire.
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1945Nixon Elected Branch PresidentParks is elected secretary again. Their leadership is opposed by some middle class members of the branch who don't like the 'politicking' and write to the national office to try to unseat them. They don't succeed. Nixon and Parks are reelected. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izyJnOdhF94
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1945Ella BakerRosa Parks and E.D. Nixon attend a leadership training conference organized by then NAACP Director of Branches Ella Baker. Baker will be a key mentor and inspiration for Parks and friend. Baker will stay with Parks every time she comes to Montgomery.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Ella-Baker-700x911.jpgElla Baker. Courtesy of <a href ="http://www.forharriet.com/2014/02/27-black-women-activists-everyone.html"> forharriet.com </a>
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1947Alabama State Conference of the NAACPNixon and Parks are elected to run the Alabama state conference of the NAACP. Parks gives a powerful address decrying the mistreatment of Black women in the South and criticizing those "feeling proud of their home or the South when Negroes every day are being molested and maltreated." http://ionenewpittsburghcourier.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/rosa-parks-e-d-nixon-at-court.jpg
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1950Hilliard Brooks KilledBrooks, a black veteran, refused a bus driver's order after he paid his fare to get off the bus and reboard from the back. The driver called the police who shot and killed Brooks, who was a neighbor of the Parkses at Cleveland Courts projects.
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19549Hired at Montgomery FairRosa Parks was hired as an assistant tailor in the men's shop, the only black woman employed there. The most prominent downtown department store, Montgomery Fair was segregated which meant black people could shop there but not not try on clothese and black employees could not use the employee lounge. Parks was not required to fit the male customers but worked in a small stuffy backroom tailoring white men's clothes. http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Montgomery_Fair_Department_Store_in_Montgomery_Alabama-700x573.jpgMontgomery Fair Department Store in Montgomery, Alabama. Courtesy of Alabama Writers' Project and Alabama Dept. of Archives and History.
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195532Claudette Colvin is arrested15-year-old Colvin refused to give up her seat on the bus and was arrested. Parks fundraised for her case. The Black community was outraged but ultimately decided not to pursue her case. http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Claudette-Colvin.jpgClaudette Colvin of Montgomery, Ala., is shown in this 1955 file photo. In 1955, Colvin refused to give up her bus seat to a white person in Montgomery, was arrested and convicted. She was inspired, in part, by Jeremiah Reeves' arrest. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, File)
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1955811955831Highlander Folk School WorkshopParks attends a 2-week workshop at Highlander with 50 other people on implementing school desegregation following the recent Brown II decision, which had refused to put a timetable on how the 1954 Brown decision would be implemented. The interracial workshop lifts her spirits and provides new ways of thinking about individual and collective action.http://rosaparksbiography.org/bio/files/2017/02/mlk-1.jpgLibrary of Congress, courtesy of Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. Retrieved from: www.loc.gov/teachersExample of red baiting
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1955828Emmett Till Murderedhttp://rosaparksbiography.org/bio/files/2017/02/jet2.jpg© Johnson Publishing CompanyJet Magazine, September 22, 1955, Page 8-9
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19551127Mass Meeting on Acquittal of Emmett Till's killersRosa Parks attends a packed mass meeting at Martin Luther King's Dexter Avenue Baptist. The organizer for the Till case,. T.M. Howard has come to town to bring the news that the two men who lynched the 14-year-old Till had been acquitted and two other civil rights activists in the state had been killed. Parks is sickened and angry.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/TRM-Howard-Till-Family-700x541.jpgHoward stands with Mamie Till-Mobley (Emmett Till’s mother) in 1955. Also pictured are witnesses for the trial and Rep. Charles Diggs of Michigan.
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1955121Rosa Parks’ Bus StanceComing home from work, Rosa Parks sat in the middle section of the bus. When the bus filled up and one white man was left standing, bus driver James Blake ordered all four black people in Parks' row to get up. "Pushed as far as she could be pushed", Parks refused. Blake called the police. One officer asked her why she did not get up. She questioned the officer, "Why do you push us around?" Parks was arrested and taken to jail. About four hours later she was bailed out by ED Nixon, Clifford and Viriginia Durr, and her husband. They went back to the Parks' apartment to discuss what was next. Late that evening, she decided to pursue the case and try to change segregation law.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Rosaparks_bus.jpgParks on a Montgomery bus on December 21, 1956, the day Montgomery's public transportation system was legally integrated. Behind Parks is Nicholas C. Chriss, a UPI reporter covering the event. Courtesy of <a href ="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Parks#/media/File:Rosaparks_bus.jpg">Wikipedia</a>
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1955122Women's Political Council distributes leafletsThe Women's Political Council decided to call for a 1-day boycott of Montgomery's buses on Monday December 5, the day Rosa Parks will be arraigned in court. They make 35,000 leaflets and distribute them all over time. At lunch, Rosa Parks finds about the boycott called for Monday.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/551202_Womens_Political_Council_leaflet.gif2 December 1955. Leaflet, “Don’t Ride the Bus,” Come to a Mass Meeting on 5 December. Courtesy of <a href="http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/documentsentry/leaflet_dont_ride_the_bus_come_to_a_mass_meeting_on_5_december/index.html">kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/</a>
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1955125Montgomery Bus Boycott BeginsParks is arraigned in court, pleads not guilty and is fined. That night at a huge mass meeting, the community votes to continue the boycott. Parks receives a minutes-long standing ovation. There are calls for her to speak but she doesn't. http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/MLK-Meets-w-Boycott-Leaders.jpgCivil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. outlines his strategy for the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 to an audience that includes Rev. Ralph Abernathy (front row, left) and Rosa Parks (front row, center). Photograph by Don Cravens/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
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19562Browder v. GayleGiven the ways the state had tied up Viola White's case in state court, community leaders with the help of lawyer Fred Gray decided proactively to file a federal lawsuit on behalf of four women, Aurelia Browder, Claudette Colvin, Mary Louise Smith, and Susie McDonald challenging Montgomery's bus segregation.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/1956-12-21-Alabama-Journal-Bus-Segregation-Knocked-Out.jpg"Bus Segregation is Knocked Out." November 13, 1956, Alabama Journal.
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1956221Boycott Leaders Arrested89 leaders including Rosa Parks are arrested when the city seeking to break the boycott resuscitates an old anti-boycott ordinance. The famous mugshot and fingerprinting photographs of Parks are taken during this arrest.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/MLK-Arrest-700x542.jpgThe Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., right, accompanied by Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy, center, is booked by city police Lt. D.H. Lackey in Montgomery, Ala., on Feb. 23, 1956. The civil rights leaders are arrested on indictments turned by the Grand Jury in the bus boycott. (AP Photo/Gene Herrick)
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19565Madison Square Garden RallyRosa Parks spends much of the year of the boycott travelling, raising money and attention across the country for the movement in Montgomery. She speaks at a massive rally at Madison Square Garden organized by Ella Baker and gets to meet some of her heroes in New York, like Thurgood Marshall and Eleanor Roosevelt.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Madison-Square-Garden-Rally-Flyer.jpgMadison Square Garden civil rights rally flyer. Courtesy of Amistad Research Center.
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1956619District of Alabama Rules against Bus Segregation
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19561220Montgomery's Buses Desegregatedhttp://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Rosa-Parks-Desegregated-Bus.jpgAmerican Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks (center, in dark coat and hat) waits to board a bus at the end of the Montgomery bus boycott, Montgomery, Alabama, December 26, 1956. (Photo by Don Cravens/Time &amp; Life Pictures/Getty Images)
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19578Leaving MontgomeryBoth Rosa and Raymond lost their jobs shortly into the boycott. They were never able to find steady work again. Even after the boycott's end, their home continued to get hate calls and death threats. The situation increasingly untenable, the Parks decided to leave Montgomery for Detroit where her brother Sylvester and cousins lived.
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19578Hampton UniversityShortly after arriving in Detroit, Parks left for Hampton University where she had been hired to work to manage the inn the school ran. The Parks family was in dire financial straits so the job at Hampton was welcome though they did not provide housing for Raymond and her mother so Rosa went to Virginia alone. She worked at Hampton for a year but then grew lonely and when they still did not provide housing for her family, she left the job and returned to Detroit.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/rosa_parks-Hampton-University.jpgPortrait of Rosa Parks. Courtesy of <a href="http://www.hamptonu.edu/about/history.cfm">Hampton University </a>
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19607Jet Magazine article on "bus boycott's forgotten woman"The Parks family had struggled to find steady work and decent housing even after their move to Detroit. Rosa had developed ulcers during the boycott that had worsened and landed her in the hospital in 1959. They were living in a 2-room apartment with her mother as caretakers at the Progressive Civic League. Following this publicity, many people and groups sent donations and the national NAACP helped pay her hospital bill.
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1961Virginia ParkThe Parks family moved to a downstairs flat in the Virginia Park neighborhood. Raymond began working around the corner at the Wildermere Barber Shop. Rosa found a job at the Stockton Sewing Company, paid by the piece and working ten hours a day.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Virginia-Park-Buildings.jpgVirginia Park. Photo by Bob Dunbar. Courtesy of Detroit Historical Society.
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196361TRM Howard delivers </br>Medgar Evers’ Eulogyhttp://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Medgar-Evars.jpgMedgar Evers (1925-1963) NAACP field secretary. 1963. Photo courtesy <a href="https://www.loc.gov/item/93516441/">Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-109400</a>
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1963623Detroit Walk to Freedom200,000 people, mostly all black, marched through downtown Detroit to call attention to rampant racial inequality in the city—a preview of the national march in DC two months later. Parks marched at the front alongside King--and thought his speech at the end was the best she ever heard him give.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Detroit-Walk-to-Freedom.jpg(306) Civil Rights, Demonstrations, "Walk to Freedom," Detroit, 1963. Photograph by Tony Spina. Courtesy of Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University.
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1963828March on WashingtonMore than 250,000 people came to Washington to call for racial justice. No women got to speak; Parks was on the dais that day and recognized as part of "A Tribute to Women" by A. Philip Randolph. http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/March-on-Washington-LOC-700x479.jpgMan in wheelchair at the March on Washington, 1963. Photograph by Warren K. Leffler. Courtesy of <a href="https://www.loc.gov/item/2013649719/">loc.gov</a>
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196375Police Kill Cynthia ScottDetroit police shot Scott, a sex worker, twice in the back and once in the stomach when she walked around after telling they had no grounds to be arresting her. 5000 picketed police headquarters. The officer was not indicted.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Cynthia-Scott-Protests-700x443.jpgAnti-police brutality demonstration. Picture lower left includes Malcolm X’s brother, Wilferd X and Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr. On Albert B. Cleage Jr.’s left in the beret is Charles Simmons. Courtesy of <a href="http://findingeliza.com/archives/18374">findingliza.com</a>
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196311Malcolm XRosa Parks meets Malcolm X for the first time when he comes to Detroit to speak at the Grassroots Leadership Conference, where he delivers the historic "Message to the Grassroots" a few weeks before he is silenced by the Nation of Islam. He makes it known through mutual friends that he would like to meet Parks (he was in awe of her courage) and so they meet for the first time. Parks would later refer to Malcolm X as her personal hero.
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19649Conyers Wins PrimaryRosa Parks had been volunteering on the upstart campaign for "Jobs, Justice, Peace" of a young civil rights lawyer, John Conyers, who was making an upstart bid for a new Michigan Congressional seat. She helped convince King to come to Detroit on Conyers behalf. Conyers won the crowded primary by about 40 votes.
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1965214Parks and Malcolm X see each other for the last timeMalcolm X gives the keynote at an event by the Afro-American Broadcasting compay. Parks receives an "Overdue Award" that night. They have a private conversation afterwards and she gets him to sign her program. She is devastated to learn a week later that he has been assassinated at the Audobon Ballroom in Harlem.
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196531Conyers Hires ParksWhen Conyers wins the general election one of the first things he does is hire Rosa Parks to do constituent work in his Detroit office. In the first years of her work there, she will represent Conyers at countless community meetings and events. When it becomes public that Conyers has hired Parks, the office receives lots of hate mail, death threats, and other racist trinkets by many Northerners who hate Rosa Parks and consider her a 'dastardly traitor.'http://rosaparksbiography.org/bio/files/2016/05/generalMotors.jpg
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19654Selma to Montgomery MarchRosa Parks joins the march for the last leg into Montgomery. Along the rout, the KKK have put up huge billboards of a picture of her and King attending an event at Highlander Folk School that the Klan describes as a "Communist Organizer training school." She speaks at the end of the march criticizing the 'progranda' about Highlander and highlighted what she learned there. http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/resources/uploads/selmatomontgomerymarch.jpgThe Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute
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196587Johnson Signs Voting Rights ActRosa Parks attends the signing.
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1966327Lowndes County Freedom MovementRosa Parks and Dorothy Dewberry were spearheading Detroit Friends of SNCC and journeyed down to Lowndes County to bring money and supplies to the movement SNCC with Stokely Carmichael's leadership was building there. Parks addressed the mass meeting on the first anniversary of the movement there.
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1967723Detroit Uprising BeginsThe Parks' Virginia Park flat in "the heart of the ghetto" as Parks put it was about a mile from where uprising began, after police raided an after hours club and patrons celebrating the return of two men from Vietnam refused to leave.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Detroit-Uprising-Civil-Unrest-1967.jpgThe Civil Unrest of 1967. Courtesy of Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University
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1967725Algiers Motel Killingshttp://rosaparksbiography.org/bio/files/2017/02/Algiers-Motel.jpgCourtesy of Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State UniversityAlgiers Motel, Woodward Ave, 1967
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1967830People’s Tribunal on the Algiers Motel Killingshttp://rosaparksbiography.org/bio/files/2017/02/Detroit-1969.jpgCourtesy of Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State UniversityKenneth Cockrel, Milton Henry (Gaidi Abiodun Obadale), Detroit, 1969
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1968314King Speaks in Grosse Pointe, MIParks sees him for the last time when she attends his speech in the elite Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe. King is massively heckled and harassed for being a 'traitor' for his criticism of US involvement in Vietnam and his attention to racial and economic inequality in Detroit and across the North. http://motorcitymuckraker.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Martin-Luther-King-at-Grosse-Pointe.jpgmotorcitymuckraker.com
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196844Martin Luther King is AssassinatedParks is devastated by the news. She journeys down to Memphis to join the movement around striking sanitation workers that King was engaged in when he was killed and then deeply saddened, goes to Atlanta for the funeral.
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1968619Solidarity Day rally of the Poor People's MovementContinuing a movement King had been working on when he was assassinated, poor people from around the country journeyed to Washington DC to force the government to deal with economic inequality. Parks speaks at the Solidarity Day rally.
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19688Democratic National Convention in ChicagoRosa Parks is part of a group of Black people who meet at the Convention and refuse to endorse any candidate for president because the Democratic Party wasn't sufficiently committed to prioritizng black issues or encouraging black leaderhsip.
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19688293rd Black Power Conference in PhiladelphiaRosa Parks attends
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1968329Republic of New Afrika Convention and Mass Arrest
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1970813Angela Davis is Arrestedhttp://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Angela-Davis.jpgAngela Davis. Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.forharriet.com/2014/02/27-black-women-activists-everyone.html">forharriet.com</a>
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1971818FBI and Jackson police raid RNA Residence
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19723Black Political Convention is Held in Gary, INRosa Parks attends and is on staff at the convention.
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1975815Joan Little is Acquitted of Murder Charges
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19751114Gary Tyler is Convicted and Sentenced to Death at the Age of 17
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1983112Reagan Signs the King holidayRosa Parks and many of her comrades had been fighting since 1968 to institute a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King. After fifteen years of opposition, it is finally signed into law.
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1985Rosa Parks pickets South African embassyRosa Parks had been active for years opposing South African apartment and calling for US divestment from South Africa.
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1987Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self DevelopmentRosa Parks with longtime friend Elaine Steele founds the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development to encourage youth leadership and the learning of African American history for Detroit students.
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1991913Clarence Thomas Nominated to the Supreme CourtRosa Parks opposes his nomination saying it "would ont represent a step forward in the road to racial progress but a u-turn on that road."
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19951016Million Man MarchRosa Parks speaks.
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1994830Rosa Parks is RobbedRosa Parks is mugged in herhome by Joseph Skipper who broke down her back door but then claimed he chased an intruder away. He asked for a tip. She gave him $3 but then he insisted on all her money. She tried to resist but then gave him all her money $103. Skipper was found in the neighborhood and beaten, then convicted and sent out of state for his safety. Parks asked people not to read too much into the incident, prayed for Skipper, and focused on the "conditions that would have made him this way."
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1999615Congressional Gold MedalPresident Bill Clinton presents Rosa Parks the medal calling her a "living American hero" and likening her stand to the battle for freedom waged on the beaches of Normandy.http://rosaparksbiography.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Rosa-Parks-Congressional-Medal-Portrait-700x522.jpgRosa Parks smiles during a ceremony where she received the Congressional Medal of Freedom in Detroit, November 28, 1999. (AP Photo / Paul Sancya)
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20051024Rosa Parks DiesAt the age of 92, Rosa Parks dies in her home in Detroit. She becomes the first woman and second African American to lie in honor in the Capitol. President Bush lays a wreath and 40,000 Americans visit her coffin. Her funeral in Detroit lasts more than six hours and many notable politicians including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Clinton speak.
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