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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Presentations and Activities > Rosa Parks: A Primary Source Gallery
Rosa Parks, circa 1950

[Detail] Rosa Parks, circa 1950

On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested when she refused to surrender her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to a white passenger. The arrest led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a seminal event in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, and was a defining moment in Parks’ long career as an activist.

This gallery showcases a selection of items from the Rosa Parks Papers at the Library of Congress, which is on loan to the Library for 10 years from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. This collection contains thousands of items that document the life, work, and legacy of this civil-rights legend.

Teaching ideas: Ask students what they can learn from these primary sources about why Rosa Parks took her stand against segregation, and about the organizations and movements that participated in the struggle. They might compare that to what they learn from a textbook or other secondary source and then write a possible update for the secondary source. To further support students as they analyze these primary sources, use the Library's primary source analysis tool and teacher's guides.

For more on the Rosa Parks Papers, visit these two Library of Congress blog posts: Inside the Rosa Parks Collection; Happy Birthday Rosa Parks!