Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Parks with former U.S. President Bill Clinton

Rosa Parks, the African American woman who served as a catalyst to the American Civil Rights Movement, died of natural causes on Monday night at her home in Detroit, Michigan. She was 92.

Parks was best known for her refusal to yield her seat to a white man who demanded it on a city bus. Her defiance led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama in 1955.

She later worked on the Staff of U.S. Representative John Conyers (D-MI) who called her "a real apostle of the nonviolence movement" in an interview with CNN.

Parks founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development and was politically active until well into her 80s.

She received the two highest civilian awards in the U.S.; the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999.

Parks' health had been in decline in the last decade. She had become more and more reclusive to the public. Parks was confined to a wheelchair and suffered from dementia.