61 Inspiring Rosa Parks Quotes on Civil Rights and Racism

Rosa Parks born in 1913 in Tuskegee Alabama was a civil rights activist who played a pivotal role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Married to Raymond Parks they were active in numerous social justice organizations including the NAACP.

Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus in 1955 was not a mere act of tiredness but a planned act of resistance against racial injustice.

The boycott she helped organize led to the desegregation of public transport in Montgomery. However, she faced repercussions including jail time and job loss.


Later she moved to Detroit and continued her activism until financial and health issues plagued her later years.

Parks died in 2005 leaving behind a legacy of resistance against racial discrimination and a commitment to civil rights.

Here is a collection of the most inspiring quotes by Rosa Parks.

Best Rosa Parks Quotes on Civil Rights and Racism

1. “One person can change the world.” ~ (Rosa Parks).


2. “I believe there is only one race – the human race.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

3. “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.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

4. “Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.” ~ (Rosa Parks).


5. “There is no future without education.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

6. “To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

7. “Without a vision the people perish, but without courage dreams die.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

8. “The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

9. “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.” ~ (Rosa Parks).


10. “I’m tired of being treated like a second-class citizen.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

11. “I had no idea that history was being made. I was just tired of giving up.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

12. “I will no longer act on the outside in a way that contradicts the truth that I hold deeply inside. I will no longer act as if I were less than the whole person I know myself inwardly to be.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

13. “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.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

14. “I thought of Emmett Till, and when the bus driver ordered me to move to the back, I just couldn’t move.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

Top Rosa Parks Quotes

15. “Each person must live their life as a model for others.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

16. “I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

17. “It takes more than one person to bring about peace – it takes all of us.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

18. “It is better to protest than to accept injustice.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

19. “I see the energy of young people as a real force for positive change.” ~ (Rosa Parks).


20. “Knowing what must be done does away with fear.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

21. “Nothing in the Golden Rule says that others will treat us as we have treated them. It only says that we must treat others in a way that we would want to be treated.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

22. “I want to be treated like a human being.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

23. “If you want to be respected for your actions, then your behavior must be above reproach. If our lives demonstrate that we are peaceful, humble, and trusted, this is recognized by others.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

24. “Victory or defeat? It is the slogan of all-powerful militarism in every belligerent nation. And yet, what can victory bring to the proletariat?” ~ (Rosa Parks).

25. “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” ~ (Rosa Parks).


26. “Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

27. “I knew someone had to take the first step and I made up my mind not to move.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

Famous Rosa Parks Quotes

28. “I thought about Emmett Till, and I could not go back. My legs and feet were not hurting, that is a stereotype. I paid the same fare as others, and I felt violated. I was not going back.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

29. “If I can sit down for freedom, you can stand up for children.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

30. “My only concern was to get home after a hard day’s work.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

31. “Arrest me for sitting on a bus? You may do that.” ~ (Rosa Parks).


32. “All I was trying to do was get home from work.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

33. “Racial pride and self-dignity were emphasized in my family and community.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

34. “We didn’t have any civil rights. It was just a matter of survival, of existing from one day to the next. I remember going to sleep as a girl hearing the Klan ride at night and hearing a lynching and being afraid the house would burn down.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

35. “What really matters is not whether we have problems, but how we go through them. We must keep going on to make it through whatever we are facing.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

36. “People need to free their minds of racial prejudice and believe in equality for all and freedom regardless of race. It would be a good thing if all people were treated equally and justly and not be discriminated against because of race or religion or anything that makes them different from others.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

37. “When that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night.” ~ (Rosa Parks).


38. “Since I have always been a strong believer in God, I knew that He was with me, and only He could get me through that next step.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

39. “I do the very best I can to look upon life with optimism and hope and looking forward to a better day.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

40. “I had given up my seat before, but this day, I was especially tired. Tired from my work as a seamstress, and tired from the ache in my heart.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

Short Rosa Parks Quotes

41. “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.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

42. “Our mistreatment was just not right, and I was tired of it.” ~ (Rosa Parks).


43. “I did not get on the bus to get arrested I got on the bus to go home.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

44. “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.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

45. “As long as there is unemployment, war, crime and all things that go to the infliction of man’s inhumanity to man, regardless – there is much to be done, and people need to work together.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

46. “Whatever my individual desires were to be free, I was not alone. There were many others who felt the same way.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

47. “I had been pushed as far as I could stand to be pushed. I had decided that I would have to know once and for all what rights I had as a human being and a citizen.” ~ (Rosa Parks).


48. “I was determined to achieve the total freedom that our history lessons…” ~ (Rosa Parks).

49. “As long as people use tactics to oppress or restrict other people from being free, there is work to be done.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

Inspiring Rosa Parks Quotes

51. “I was ready to die but give my consent never. Never, never.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

52. “If I stayed angry at other people, I would miss finding friends among those I was angry with.” ~ (Rosa Parks).


53. “I will always work for human rights for all people.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

54. “I had been pushed as far as I could stand.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

55. “I had felt for a long time, that if I was ever told to get up so a white person could sit, that I would refuse to do so.” ~ (Rosa Parks).

56. Without vision, people perish, and without courage and inspiration dreams die. ~ Rosa Parks.

57. The bus was among the first ways I realized there was a black world and a white world. ~ Rosa Parks.

58. There was an opportunity for me to take a stand. ~ Rosa Parks.

59. To this day I believe we are here on planet earth to live, grow, and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom. ~ Rosa Parks.

60. You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right. ~ Rosa Parks.

61. I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free. ~ Rosa Parks.

Know more about Rosa Parks by watching the below video.

So these were the 55 quotes about Rosa Parks.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other popular blog posts on the topics of Claudette Colvin quotes and Vernon Jordan quotes.

Short Biography of Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks, an influential American civil rights activist, famously defied segregation by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 1, 1955.

This act of defiance led to her arrest and sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, a pivotal event in the civil rights movement.

Full Name Rosa Louise McCauley Parks
Born February 4, 1913 Tuskegee, Alabama, U.S.
Died October 24, 2005 (aged 92) Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Resting Place Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit
Education Highlander Folk School, Montgomery Industrial School for Girls, Alabama State Teachers College for Negroes
Occupation Civil rights activist
Known for Montgomery bus boycott
Parents Leona McCauley, James McCauley
Spouse(s) Raymond Parks (m. 1932; died 1977)
Movement Civil Rights Movement

Her courage helped initiate a federal court case, Browder v. Gayle, which ultimately declared bus segregation unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment.

Parks is celebrated as “the first lady of civil rights” by the U.S. Congress.

Quick Facts about Rosa Parks

  • Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama.
  • She only had one sibling, a brother named Sylvester James McCauley.
  • Rosa stopped attending school at 16 to care for her ailing grandmother and mother.
  • She married Raymond Parks at the age of 19.
  • Unlike Rosa, her brother Sylvester had 13 children.
  • Rosa and her family were active members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
  • As a child, she had to walk to school while white students were bussed.
  • Rosa experienced racial segregation early, noting separate facilities for blacks and whites.
  • She faced bullying from white children but always stood up for herself.
  • Rosa recounted acts of kindness from some white people despite prevalent racism.
  • She witnessed the terror of the Ku Klux Klan during her childhood.
  • After marrying Raymond Parks, she continued her education and graduated high school.
  • Raymond was an active member of the NAACP and influenced Rosa’s involvement.
  • Rosa Parks became the secretary of the NAACP in December 1943.
  • She worked as the NAACP’s secretary for nearly 15 years.
  • Rosa was arrested on December 1, 1955, for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger.
  • Her arrest triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a pivotal event in the Civil Rights Movement.
  • The boycott lasted over a year and was supported predominantly by the black community.
  • Rosa stated she didn’t give up her seat because she was physically tired but was tired of yielding.
  • The Women’s Political Council was the first group to promote the bus boycott following her arrest.
  • Rosa was arrested a second time for her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • Cities across the U.S. commemorated the 50th anniversary of her arrest by leaving bus seats empty.
  • Rosa Parks passed away on October 24, 2005, in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Angela Bassett portrayed her in the 2002 TV movie, “The Rosa Parks Story.”
  • A statue of Rosa Parks is displayed in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.
  • She was the first woman to lie in honor at the U.S. Capitol.
  • Rosa’s actions helped end segregation on public transportation in the U.S.
  • She never had children of her own and was close to her husband’s family.
  • Rosa was actively involved in raising funds and awareness for the civil rights cause.
  • Her story remains a significant symbol of the fight against racial injustice.

Top Questions about Rosa Parks

Q: Why is Rosa Parks often called “The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement”?

A: Rosa Parks earned the title “The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement” by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama, sparking a pivotal moment in the struggle for racial equality.

Q: What significant event occurred on December 1, 1955, involving Rosa Parks?

A: On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her bus seat to a white person, defying Alabama’s segregation laws. This act led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Q: What role did Rosa Parks play in the NAACP prior to her famous bus incident?

A: Before her arrest, Rosa Parks was actively involved with the NAACP, serving as the secretary of the organization where she was responsible for administrative duties and supported civil rights initiatives.

Q: How did Rosa Parks’ arrest impact the black community in Montgomery?

A: Rosa Parks’ arrest triggered a widespread boycott of the Montgomery bus system by the African-American community, lasting over a year, which was significant as they constituted the majority of the bus ridership.

Q: What educational milestone did Rosa Parks achieve with the support of her husband, Raymond?

A: With encouragement from her husband, Raymond Parks, Rosa continued her education after their marriage and successfully obtained her high school diploma, an achievement held by less than 10% of African Americans at that time.

Q: Describe a formative experience from Rosa Parks’ early life.

A: Growing up, Rosa Parks faced and resisted bullying by white children in her neighborhood. She recalled never accepting abuse lightly and would often retaliate, marking her early resolve against racial injustice.

Q: What did Rosa Parks signify by refusing to give up her seat and stating she was tired of “giving in”?

A: By refusing to give up her seat, Rosa Parks symbolized her fatigue with the systemic oppression and racial injustice, asserting that her act of defiance was not out of physical tiredness but a refusal to comply with unjust laws.

Q: How has Rosa Parks been commemorated in the U.S. Capitol?

A: Rosa Parks was honored with a statue in the National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol, symbolizing her permanent impact on American history as a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement. She was also the first woman to lie in honor at the U.S. Capitol, receiving tributes from thousands.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar