November 15

November 15, 1979 – Rosa Parks Awarded The Spingarn Medal

“The First Lady of Civil Rights”, Rosa Louise McCauley Parks received the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal on November 15, 1979.  The Spingarn Medal is awarded annually to an African American for their achievement. The NAACP notes that she was given the reward “In recognition to the quiet courage and determination exemplified when she refused to surrender her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus”. When Rosa Park sat down December 1, 1955 on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, she stood up for the dignity and civil rights of every African American in the United States.

Rosa Parks (detail)

Rosa Parks with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the background. 1955

Her very patriotic and brave act was the stimulus that helped strengthen the Montgomery Bus Boycott and civil rights demonstrations around the country.  Parks actions became a symbol of support against the crude racial discrimination that was prevalent in the south and many parts of the country. Her arrest for refusing the bus drivers demand to give up her seat on the bus to a white person initiated a cause for her support until this day.  Parks at the time was secretary of the Montgomery Chapter of the NAACP, but she acted that day on her own.  Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama and died on October 24, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan.

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Rosa Parks receive an award from President Bill Clinton.