36 Inspiring Rosa Parks Facts For Kids
Teach your children about the amazing civil rights leader, Rosa Parks, with these Rosa Parks facts for kids.
These simple facts will help your kids learn more about the mother of the freedom movement, and why she fought to ride in the front of the bus.
At the end of this post, you’ll find the Rosa Parks Facts for Kids Building Sentences printables.
The world is full of many different kinds of people, which is what makes it so beautiful and special.
Rosa Parks is one of many people that helped shape our country and pave the way for black Americans to escape racial segregation.
When you look around, today, you’ll see people from all sorts of interesting countries, people with different colors of skin, and people with unique abilities.
All of these differences are things to celebrate, and it’s essential to learn as much as we can about other cultures, races, and religions. It’s equally important to share this learning with our children.
Teaching your kids more about these aspects helps broaden their perspectives, and it praises diversity. You can help your kids develop into open-minded, empathetic, and compassionate individuals.
When your children learn about important figures in history and pivotal people in the civil rights movement, they will undoubtedly hear about Rosa Parks. True;, it can sometimes seem overwhelming to teach some of these ideas to small children.
But, don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be.
You can start by sharing some simple facts about Rosa Parks with your kids to help spark a meaningful conversation about equality, compassion, and how to treat others.
Who Is Rosa Parks?
- Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist. This means she was someone who stood up for others and fought for their rights as citizens. She was often called the mother of the civil rights movement, because she worked so hard to ensure freedom and equal rights for the black community.
- Her full name was Rosa Louise McCauley Parks.
- Rosa Louise McCauley was born on February 4, 1913. She died on October 24, 2005. She was 92 years old when she died.
- Rosa was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, in the United States.
- She died in Detroit, Michigan, at her home.
- She had a younger brother named Sylvester.
- Her parents’ names were James and Leona McCauley.
- Rosa’s parents separated, and Rosa and her brother moved with her mother to her grandparent’s farm. The farm was in a town called Pine Level.
Important Facts About Rosa Parks
- Rosa had to drop out of high school when she was 16 to take care of her sick grandmother. When she was 19, she went back to school and got her high school diploma. At this time, not many black people finished school. Rosa was one of only about 7% that received a high school diploma.
- When Rosa was 19, she married a barber named Raymond Parks. It was her husband that encouraged Rosa to go back to school for secondary education.
- Rosa worked for a while as a seamstress in Montgomery — the capital of Alabama.
- Rosa and her husband never had any children.
When Rosa Parks Was In School
Take a moment to think about your school day. How do you get to school? If you walk to school, how far do you need to walk? Or, do you ride the bus or have mom or dad drop you off?
Rosa Parks started school when she was 6 years old. She had to walk to school, along with the other black children. They could not ride the bus to school like the white children. Also, there were different schools for white children and black children; they did not go to the same school.
Because of this, Rosa says she started to really see that there were two different worlds — the black world and the white world.
Many places also had signs that would say things like “For Whites Only” or “For Coloreds Only.” At the time, she just figured it was how things were. But perhaps this was the beginning of her future as an activist that changed American history.
About five years after starting school, she attended the Montgomery Industrial School for Girls. She was there for five years then went to the Alabama State Teacher’s College to try and get her diploma. She had to leave the college to take care of her grandmother.
The Most Well-Known Facts About Rosa Parks
- Rosa Parks is perhaps most famous for not giving up her seat on the bus. At the time, things weren’t fair for black people, or African Americans. If a white person got on a bus and there were no open seats, a black person was expected to stand up and give up their seat. When Rosa refused to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus, she was arrested.
- Her arrest sparked the Montgomery bus boycott just a few days later, on December 5th, 1955. A boycott is when people refuse to do something, so here, it was people refusing to use the bus in Montgomery.
- The boycott finally ended when the US Supreme Court ruled to end the segregation laws for buses. This ruling meant that both black and white people could sit anywhere on the bus from that point on. Also, it meant that a black person did not have to give up their seat to a person just because that person was white.
- When Rosa Parks rode the bus again, after the new laws, it was the same bus driver. She said he didn’t react or say anything, and neither did she.
Rosa Parks Books for Kids
I’ve put together a collection of Rosa Parks books for kids that are recommended by teachers and parents.
Questions To Ask Your Kids When Talking About Rosa Parks
As you go over Rosa Park’s life with your kids, stop and ask questions often. Give your children time to process some of the things they are hearing and learning. Also, let them ask questions and be patient and understanding with your answers.
If you’re not sure how to start a conversation, let these different bits of information about Rosa’s life be your guide. When reviewing these facts with your children, here are a few ideas for questions you might ask to begin some discussions:
- How do you think Rosa felt when people told her to give up her seat on the bus?
- Do you think it was fair that people told Rosa to give up her seat?
- Would you have helped Rosa? Do you think it would have been scary?
- Do you think Rosa was brave? Why?
- What do you think you would have done if you had been on the bus?
Did You Know Rosa Parks Wasn’t The First To Refuse To Give Up Her Seat On The Bus?
Although Rosa is most well-known for refusing to give up her seat on the bus, she wasn’t the first.
The first black person to refuse to give up her seat to a white person was actually a 15-year-old girl named Claudette Colvin. Claudette was born in Birmingham, AL but grew up in Montgomery. When she refused to give up her seat, she was arrested.
Rosa Parks helped raise money for her defense. But Claudette was found guilty. A year later, it was Claudette’s lawyer who filed the important case that would lead to ending segregation on buses. The name of the lawsuit was Browder vs. Gayle.
Where Did Rosa Parks Go When She Left Montgomery?
After the Montgomery bus boycott, life got challenging for Rosa and her husband. They moved to Hampton, VA and Rosa got a job at Hampton Institute, a primarily black college. Then, the couple moved to Detroit, Michigan.
Rosa got a job working with a US Congressman named John Conyers. She helped get him elected to office and then served on his staff as a receptionist for many years.
More Interesting Facts About Rosa Parks
- Rosa and her husband wanted to make a difference in the lives of black Americans. They didn’t think it was right how people treated black people differently. They joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to help end segregation — the separation between white people and black people.
- Rosa Parks co-founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development in 1987 to help young people prepare for new jobs and careers.
- 12 years before Rosa refused to give up her seat, the same bus driver drove off without her.
- Rosa published her autobiography, which is a book someone writes about their own life, in 1992. The name of the book is Rosa Parks: My Story.
- Rosa Parks had a small role in the television show Touched by an Angel in 1999.
- Rosa won lots of awards for all of her incredible efforts. Two really big ones were the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996, presented by Bill Clinton, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999.
More Questions About Rosa Parks To Encourage Conversation
- How do you think Rosa Parks made a difference back then and today?
- What are some ways you can make a difference today to help make sure people are treated fairly?
- Have you ever felt like someone treated you unfairly? What happened?
- Has there been a time when maybe you didn’t treat someone else fairly or like you would want to be treated?
- Do you think it was hard for Rosa to do all of the things she did?
- How would you feel today if you couldn’t do some of the things you wanted to do?
- What do you want to be when you grow up? Now, how would you feel if people told you you weren’t allowed to do that?
Rosa Parks Worksheets
To help teach younger kids about Rosa Parks, I have created these Building Sentences Rosa Parks printables.
There are 10 basic facts about her life, what she stood for, and her achievements. The kids will cut and paste the word tiles to build each fact, write the sentence, and draw a picture to go along with the fact.
There are 2 levels included in all of my Building Sentences resources. This makes differentiation a breeze!
What fact did you find the most interesting or surprising? Which ones sparked the most questions and conversations with your kids? Share in the comments!
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