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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Using the News in the Classroom: Remembering a Bus Ride that Changed History!

On December 1, 1955, a tired seamstress living in Montgomery, Alabama, made history. Rosa Parks was an African American woman who broke the law when she refused to give up her seat on a crowded bus for a white passenger. Her act of civil disobedience resulted in her being kicked off the bus and her arrest! She was charged and found guilty of violating the segregation law of the city even though she had NOT taken a white-only seat that December day. That action resulted in a long boycott against the buses in Montgomery lasting 381 days and led to a Supreme Court action which overturned such discrimination laws. Rosa Parks is called the "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement”.

When Parks received the Congressional Gold Medal (the highest civilian honor of our country), President Bill Clinton said of her, "We must never ever, when this ceremony is over, forget about the power of ordinary people to stand in the fire for the cause of human dignity."

Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever taken a stand about something?
  2. Perhaps you have seen someone being bullied. Did you say or do anything?
  3. What makes someone a hero? Would you say that Rosa Parks was a hero? (Why or why not?) Find a news story that shows an act of heroism.

Check out this Reader’s Theater Script on Rosa Parks for kids to learn all about her life and contributions.

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