Rosa Parks Quotes

Civil Rights Legend (1913 - 2005)

Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks, at ceremony being awarded Congressional Gold Medal, 1999. William Philpott/Getty Images

Rosa Parks is known as the woman who, in December 1955, refused to give up her seat to a white man. Rosa Parks was arrested, and this arrest triggered the Montgomery bus boycott and ignited the American civil rights movement.

Selected Rosa Parks Quotations

  1. I believe we are here on the planet Earth to live, grow up and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.
  2. I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.
  1. The only tired I was, was tired of giving in. (on refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white male)
  2. I'm tired of being treated like a second-class citizen.
  3. 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, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.
  4. I knew someone had to take the first step and I made up my mind not to move.
  5. Our mistreatment was just not right, and I was tired of it.
  6. I didn't want to pay my fare and then go around the back door, because many times, even if you did that, you might not get on the bus at all. They'd probably shut the door, drive off, and leave you standing there.
  7. My only concern was to get home after a hard day's work.
  8. Arrest me for sitting on a bus? You may do that.
  1. At the time I was arrested I had no idea it would turn into this. It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in.
  2. I am a symbol.
  3. Each person must live their life as a model for others.
  4. I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.
  1. You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.
  2. Have you ever been hurt and the place tries to heal a bit, and you just pull the scar off of it over and over again.
  3. [F]rom the time I was a child, I tried to protest against disrespectful treatment.
  4. Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.
  5. God has always given me the strength to say what is right.
  6. Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.
  7. I do the very best I can to look upon life with optimism and hope and looking forward to a better day, but I don't think there is anything such as complete happiness. It pains me that there is still a lot of Klan activity and racism. I think when you say you're happy, you have everything that you need and everything that you want, and nothing more to wish for. I haven't reached that stage yet. (source)

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis.

This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.