Rosa Parks Topic Guide

Rosa Parks was one of the leaders of the Civil Rights movement in America. On the 1st of December 1955 she made history when she refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white person. At that time in America, white people and black people were not treated equally; one of the many differences was that they had to use different parts of the bus. Black people were expected to stand if a white person needed a seat.

When Parks was arrested and fined for her actions, Civil Rights activists organised a bus boycott, which meant that black people stopped using the buses. After a year, the city changed the law and racial segregation on buses was no longer allowed.

Teach your children about Rosa Parks using our handy topic guide!

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Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas



Rosa Parks Facts

  • Rosa Parks was born in Alabama, USA, on the 4th of February 1913.
  • Parks’ father worked as a carpenter and her mother was a teacher.
  • Before she refused to give up her seat on the bus, Parks had joined an organisation campaigning for an end to racial discrimination.
  • Parks’ arrest led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott; from the date of her trial, African Americans in the city of Montgomery refused to use the bus. This protest went on for over a year, and cost the bus company a lot of money: 75% of bus users in the city were black.
  • On the 50th anniversary of Parks’ arrest, seats on buses in many American cities were left empty in her honour.


The Rosa Parks story

Rosa Parks tells the story of her life.

Running time: 11:28

The Rosa Parks Song

A great Horrible Histories song!

Running time: 3:04

I Am Rosa Parks

Children can read along as they watch this biographical video.

Running time: 14:50

The Life of Rosa Parks

This short video is a good introduction to learning about Rosa Parks.

Running time: 4:57


White Water

When Michael gets off the bus, he just wants a drink of water. Why is the water in the white people’s drinking fountain different?

The Other Side

When Anna and Clover are told they have to stay on different sides of the fence, they solve the problem by sitting on the fence together.

Freedom Summer

Best friends Joe and John Henry swim together.

Who Was Rosa Parks?

An illustrated biography of Rosa Parks.

Rosa Parks

This book from National Geographic tells how Rosa Parks helped to end racial segregation in America.

The Story of Civil Rights

Learn about the history of the civil rights movement in America.

Rosa Parks

This beautiful book retells Rosa Parks’ story.

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