Remembering Rosa Parks

* Rosa Parks, who has been called the mother of the civil rights movement, died Monday at her home in Detroit, Michigan. She was 92.

Parks became a hero to millions of people around the world not for what she did, but for what she refused to do.

On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, to a white man. Laws in Alabama at the time saved the first four rows of seats in buses for white people. The last 10 rows were to be used by black people. Seats in the middle could be used by anyone, but if a white person wanted to sit in one of these seats, black passengers had to leave the entire row.

Parks and three other black people were sitting in a row of middle seats when a white man boarded the bus. The driver ordered the blacks to move. Three did, but Parks remained seated.

She was arrested and convicted of breaking city laws intended to separate blacks and whites. These laws are called segregation.

After her arrest, black leaders in Montgomery -- including Martin Luther King Jr. -- called for blacks not to ride city buses. This boycott was a huge success. For more than a year, blacks walked or got other rides. They did not use the buses.

Parks's case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided that segregating laws for public transportation were illegal.

Parks said she never saw herself as a hero and that not giving up her seat "just seemed like the right thing to do."

In a 1994 book, she wrote: "I want to be remembered as a person . . . who wanted a better world for young people; and most of all, I want to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted others to be free."

Was Rosa Parks a hero?

A simple act by one person sometimes can change the world. KidsPost wants to know what injustice you would like to change and what simple thing you could do to make a difference. Send your letters to KidsPost, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.

Or e-mail us at kidspost@ washpost.com (put "Rosa Parks" in the subject line). Include your name, age, home town and phone number. If we publish your letter, we'll send you a KidsPost T-shirt and a book about Rosa Parks.

Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat on this bus, now on display in Michigan.