Share This Page
If you like Rosa Parks's story, you might also like:
Ernest J. Gaines,
Frank M. Johnson,
Coretta Scott King,
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,
and Andrew Young
Teachers can find prepared lesson plans featuring Rosa Parks in the Achievement Curriculum area:
The Road to Civil Rights
Advocacy & Citizenship
Freedom and Justice
Black History Month
Rosa Parks also appears in the video:
President George Bush: Lessons of Leadership
Rosa Parks Interview (page: 3 / 3)
Pioneer of Civil Rights
What would you like to tell us about your life since the bus boycott?
Rosa Parks: I would have to take longer than a minute to give my whole synopsis of my life, but I want to let you know that all of us should be free and equal and have equal opportunity and that is what I'm trying to instill and encourage and inspire young people to reach their highest potential.
[ Key to Success ] Vision
Tell us about the goals of the Parks Institute.
Rosa Parks: We work with young people, from the ages of 11 to 17. Our main program is the Pathways to Freedom. And we'll be going from Memphis, Tennessee through ten other states, and Washington, DC, and to Canada. It began July 13th and ends August 8th. We hope to take as many young people and their chaperons as possible throughout these areas, and stop and have workshops and programs. They'll be traveling in buses, and we hope that will inspire and give them a sense of history and also to encourage them to be concerned about their self and history and motivated to reach their highest potential. We always encourage them to have a spiritual awareness, because I feel that with the spirit within and our belief in ourselves and our faith in God that we will overcome many obstacles that we could not with negative attitudes. I want to always be concerned with being positive, and them being positive and believing in themselves, and believing that they should be good citizens and an asset to our country and for the world. And I believe in peace too, and not violence.
What has the American Dream mean to you?
Rosa Parks: I think the American Dream should be to have a good life, and to live well, and to be a good citizen. I think that should apply to all of us. That it is the land of the free and the home of the brave, and I believe it should be just that for all people. Who can think of themselves as human beings and that they will enjoy the blessings of the freedom of this country.
[ Key to Success ] The American Dream
Are we moving as quickly as you might like in that direction?
Rosa Parks: We still have a long way to go, we still have many obstacles and many challenges to face. It's far from perfect, and it may never be, but I think as long as we do the best we can to improve conditions, then people will be benefited.
You don't get negative about the negative things.
Rosa Parks: No, I don't. I try to not think of those things that we cannot control, but I think if we continue to work with positive attitudes, conditions will be better for more people.
Tell me about your husband.
Rosa Parks: He believed in freedom and equality and all the things that would improve conditions.
He was an inspiration to you.
Rosa Parks: Yes, he was.
When did he die?
Rosa Parks: In August of 1977.
What advice would you give to a young person who wants to make a difference?
Rosa Parks: The advice I would give any young person is, first of all, to rid themselves of prejudice against other people and to be concerned about what they can do to help others. And of course, to get a good education, and take advantage of the opportunities that they have. In fact, there are more opportunities today than when I was young. And whatever they do, to think positively and be concerned about other people, to think in terms of them being able to not succumb to many of the temptations, especially the use of drugs and substances that will destroy the physical health, as well as mental health.
What would you say to a kid who's in trouble now?
Rosa Parks: The reason we start with them so young is to try to get them a good family life, before they get into that area. Of course there are those who maybe have strayed away, and I would certainly advise them to find some means of helping themselves, even if they've gotten into some problems.
Family is important to you.
Rosa Parks: Yes, it is, very important. Of course, we have so many broken homes now. Young people need some means of being encouraged and to try to find some role models, people in school, in church, and other organizations. They need to be organized to work together, instead of being so scattered about and not having any positive outlook on life.
Did you feel Dr. King had a special gift?
Rosa Parks: Well, when I first met him it was before I was arrested. I met him in August of 1955, when he came to be the guest speaker at an NAACP meeting and I was secretary. I was very impressed with his delivery as a speaker and, of course, his genuine friendliness as a person. And his attitude, of course, was to work and do whatever he could in the community for the church to make a difference in the way of life we had at that time. And I was really impressed by his leadership, because he seemed to be a very genuine and very concerned person, and, I thought, a real Christian.
Did it surprise you when he became a national hero?
Rosa Parks: No, not really, because I just felt that he filled the position so well. He was the type of person that people really gravitated towards and they seemed to like him personally, as well as his leadership.
A warm person?
Rosa Parks: Yes, he was.
It has been an honor to sit with you here, today. Thank you so much for spending this time with us, Mrs. Parks.
Rosa Parks: Thank you.
View Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, "I Have a Dream" speech on the
steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963.
Poet and best-selling author Maya Angelou shares her
interpretation of Dr. King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech.
Rosa Parks Interview, Page:
1 2 3
This page last revised on Dec 06, 2013 13:10 EST