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Rosa Parks (1913-2005)

Rosa Parks is considered by many to be the mother of the civil rights movement. Her arrest in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man inspired a yearlong boycott of buses in Montgomery, Alabama. Her activism has often been downplayed by accounts portraying her as a seamstress who didn’t get up because she was tired. However, at the time of her arrest, Rosa Parks had been secretary of the NAACP branch in Montgomery for twelve years where she worked on voter registration and interviewed victims of race-based crimes. Documents concerning her arrest became part of a court case that resulted in a ruling—upheld by the Supreme Court—that segregation on public buses was unconstitutional. In 1999, Rosa Parks was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.

This minibibliograpy lists titles from the NLS collection about this historic figure. Digital braille and talking book titles can be downloaded from the NLS BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) service. Contact your local cooperating library to register for BARD. Registered users may also download audio titles on iOS and Android devices using the BARD Mobile app. Braille titles may be downloaded using the app on a device linked by Bluetooth to a refreshable braille display. To find your local cooperating library, go to or call toll-free 888-NLS-READ (888-657-7323).

By Rosa Parks

Autobiography for Children

I Am Rosa Parks
by Rosa Parks with Jim Haskins

Famous activist describes her role in the civil rights movement. In 1955, fed up with unequal treatment, Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man. Her arrest led to a yearlong boycott of Montgomery, Alabama, buses by African Americans. For grades 2–4. 1997.

Rosa Parks: My Story
by Rosa Parks with Jim Haskins

In 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger, an action that sparked the yearlong Montgomery bus boycott and helped launch the civil rights movement. Born in 1913 in rural Alabama, Rosa McCauley married Raymond Parks in 1932 and joined him in his civil rights activism, becoming secretary of the Montgomery branch of the NAACP. For grades 4–7 and older readers. 1992.

Short Pieces

I Have a Dream: The Life and Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
by James Haskins with an introduction by Rosa Parks

A straightforward biography of the leader of the civil rights movement that focuses on his impact on the nation and his belief in nonviolence. Includes excerpts from King’s speeches, sermons, letters, and writings. For grades 5–8 and older readers. 1992.

Oh, Freedom!: Kids Talk about the Civil Rights Movement with the People Who Made It Happen
by Casey King with a foreword by Rosa Parks

Thirty-one grade-school children interview friends and relatives about their roles in the civil rights movement. Three additional essays provide information on segregation, the movement to end it, and the struggle against racial discrimination and poverty. For grades 5–8. 1997.

Murder on the Highway: The Viola Liuzzo Story
by Beatrice Siegel with a foreword by Rosa Parks

The author tells of Viola Liuzzo, a white mother of five from Detroit who felt compelled to join the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. After marching with African Americans to obtain their right to vote, Liuzzo gave a fellow marcher a ride home. Ku Klux Klan members shot and killed Liuzzo as she was driving, making her the first white woman killed in the movement. For senior high and older readers. 1993.

Oral History

Refuse to Stand Silently By: An Oral History of Grass Roots Social Activism in America, 1921-64
edited by Eliot Wigginton

The compiler of this oral history (originator of Foxfire magazine) groups contributors into categories defined by social action experience and date. But there the similarity ends. Individual activists, such as Rosa Parks and Pete Seeger, recall personal reactions to injustice and the critical points at which each took an active stance. 1991.


Rosa Parks
by Douglas Brinkley

A distinguished historian portrays the woman who became a symbol of freedom by her refusal to give up her Alabama bus seat to a white man in 1955. Brinkley examines her background, what led to her courageous action in the civil rights movement, and the repercussions. 2000.

Our Auntie Rosa : The Family of Rosa Parks Remembers her Life and Lessons
by Sheila McCauley Keys

Many know of the role Rosa Parks played in the civil rights movement, but much less is known about her life outside that work. Keys presents a picture of Parks on a more personal level. Members of her family provide personal remembrances, reflections, photos, and letters paying tribute to Parks. 2015.

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks
by Jeanne Theoharis

Biography of civil rights leader Rosa Parks (1913-2005) focuses on her lifelong commitment to equality. Chronicles her education; the December 1955 day in Montgomery, Alabama, when she refused to give up her bus seat; subsequent personal hardships; and her four more decades of work for the movement. Strong language. 2013.

Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement

Black Profiles in Courage
by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Presents a historical gallery of heroes of African descent, recounting the stories of their contributions to the nation. The subjects include sixteenth-century explorer Estevanico, Crispus Attucks at the Boston Massacre, and Rosa Parks, who valiantly kept her seat on a segregated bus in 1955. 1996.

At the Dark End of the Street
by Danielle L. McGuire

Historian presents the forgotten history of sexual violence against women of color in the twentieth-century Jim-Crow South. Begins with the notorious 1944 case of Recy Taylor, which brought to prominence a young NAACP investigator named Rosa Parks. Violence, strong language, and descriptions of sex. 2010.

A More Beautiful and Terrible History
by Jeanne Theoharis

Historian dissects the myths surrounding the American civil rights movement and some of its most celebrated figures, such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. She discusses the diversity of those participants, the work involved, the role of the media, and more. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2018.


Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters
by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Portraits of ten African American women who advanced the causes of women’s rights and racial justice: Sojourner Truth, Biddy Mason, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mary McLeod Bethune, Ella Josephine Baker, Dorothy Irene Height, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Shirley Chisholm. For grades 4–7. Coretta Scott King Honor. 2000. For grades 4–7. Coretta Scott King Honor. 2000.

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