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Exhibition Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words

A Life of Global Impact

“We must have courage—determination—to go on with the task of becoming free—not only for ourselves, but for the nation and the world—cooperate with each other. Have faith in God and ourselves.”

Rosa Parks’s principled defiance established her as an international symbol of human dignity and freedom. Children from around the world sent her birthday cards, letters, and drawings. She was given many awards and honors, including more than forty honorary doctoral degrees from universities. In 1963, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference inaugurated the annual Rosa Parks Freedom Award. In the 1970s and 1980s, Rosa received the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal, the UAW’s Social Justice Award, and the Martin Luther King, Jr., Nonviolent Peace Prize. In the 1990s, the Smithsonian unveiled a bust in her likeness, the Rosa Parks Peace Prize was established in Stockholm, Sweden, and the Medal of Freedom was awarded to her by President Bill Clinton. In addition, Rosa received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999. The Rosa Parks Library and Museum opened in Montgomery in 2000. The television movie, The Rosa Parks Story aired on CBS in 2002. After her death, in 2005, her body lay in honor at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Rosa was the first woman given that distinction. A statue of Rosa Parks was placed in National Statuary Hall in 2006. Today buildings, streets, and parks carry the name Rosa Parks.