Rosa Parks, known as the mother of the civil rights movement, would have celebrated her 104th birthday Saturday. The day falls during Black History Month, a time to honor and educate about African-American history in the United States.

Parks has been well remembered for her refusal to give up her seat for a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, a date that triggered boycotts and spurred the civil rights movement across the country. Parks died in 2005, leaving behind a monumental legacy and moving words to guide the modern civil rights movement.

Below are a sampling of facts about and quotes by Parks.

  1. Parks wasn’t actually sitting in a “whites only” section. She was one row behind the section designated for white people. Parks was asked to move further back when a white man boarded the bus and the front section was already crowded. The three black passengers seated next to Parks moved, but she refused.
  2. She wasn’t the first black woman to refuse to move on a bus. Fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus only nine months before Parks was. Parks helped raise defense funds for Colvin. Three other women who refused to move were the plaintiffs in a Supreme Court case that resulted in the court striking down segregation on buses. GettyImages-143132314 Former President Barack Obama sits on the bus Rosa Parks rode on at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, April 18, 2012. Photo: Getty
  3. An institute exists named after Parks and her husband. The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development has aimed to motivate and educate youth about civil rights history. Parks cofounded the institute in 1987 in honor of her husband, who died 10 years earlier.
  4. Parks received more than 43 honorary doctorate degrees. She also received the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Spingarn Medal, the Martin Luther King Jr. Non-Violent Peace Prize and the presidential Medal of Freedom. Parks was voted one of the most influential people of the 20th century by Time magazine.
  5. Parks was the first woman to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. After her death, her casket was placed in the rotunda of the capitol, making her the first woman and second African-American in history to be honored there. Parks’ casket was there for two days to allow people to pay their respects.

GettyImages-56035086 Former President George W. Bush bows his head in prayer after placing a wreath in front of the casket of Rosa Parks at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., Oct. 30, 2005. Photo: Getty


“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.”

“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would also be free.”

“I learned to put my trust in God and to see Him as my strength. Long ago I set my mind to be a free person and not to give in to fear. I always felt that it was my right to defend myself if I could. I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, that diminishes fear, knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

“Each person must live their life as a model for others.”

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically. No, the only tired I was was tired of giving in.”

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.”