I grew up in the southern United States in Alabama. my full name was Rosa Louise McCauley and I was born in Tuskegee, Alabama on February 4, 1913 to Leona and James McCauley. my mother was a teacher and my father a carpenter. I had a younger brother named Sylvester. .
It was on December 1, 1955 that I made her famous stand (while sitting) on the bus. I had settled in my seat on the bus after a hard day's work. All the seats on the bus had filled up when a white man boarded. The bus driver told me and some other African-Americans to stand up. I refused. The bus driver said he would call the police. I didn't move. Soon the police showed up and I was arrested.
I was charged with breaking a segregation law and was told to pay a fine of $10. I refused to pay, however, saying that she was not guilty and that the law was illegal. She appealed to a higher court.
That night a number of African-American leaders got together and decided to boycott the city buses. This meant that African-Americans would no longer ride the buses. One of these leaders was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He became the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association which helped to lead the boycott.
The boycott continued for 381 days! Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the segregation laws in Alabama were unconstitutional.
It wasn't easy for people to boycott the buses as many African-Americans didn't have cars. They had to walk to work or get a ride in a carpool. Many people couldn't go into town to buy things. However, they stuck together in order to make a statement.
Just because the laws were changed, things didn't get any easier for Rosa. She received many threats and feared for her life. Many of the civil rights leader's houses were bombed, including the home of Martin Luther King Jr. In 1957 Rosa and Raymond moved to Detroit, Michigan.
Rosa continued to attend civil rights meetings. She became a symbol to many African-Americans of the fight for equal rights. She is still a symbol of freedom and equality to many today.