Bruce Gordon, President and CEO, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the death of Rosa Park, 92, marked the sad end of an era.
"Rosa Parks served as an inspiration to generations of African Americans and all people of good will," said Gordon. "More than an icon, Mrs. Parks is symbolic of the thousands of courageous NAACP workers who fight for civil rights in their communities."
Julian Bond, Chairman, NAACP Board of Directors, said: "Rosa Parks was truly the mother of the modern civil rights movement. She was NAACP Secretary in Montgomery when she sat down in order to stand up for civil rights, and her quiet example demonstrated to millions new ways to confront the evil of segregation."
Parks became famous nearly 50 years ago when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus. Her act of defiance on December 1, 1955 sparked the Montgomery bus boycott that brought the late Dr. Martin Luther King to prominence.
Parks, a seamstress, was one of the first womeu to join the Montgomery NAACP branch in 1943. In addition to serving as the branch secretary, Parks was the youth advisor for several years.
As youth advisor to the NAACP, Parks helped young people organize protests at the city's main library because the libraries reserved for blacks had fewer books. In the 1930's, Parks worked with her husband, Raymond Parks, a NAACP activist, for the defense of the Scottsboro Boys, nine young African American men pulled off a train, falsely accused and found guilty of raping two white women in 1931.
Parks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999. The NAACP presented her with its highest award, the Spingarn Medal, in 1979.
In a 1993 tribute, the NAACP called Parks "a great American and a most compassionate human being who became a new kind of protagonist for our fight to eliminate racial segregation in this complex society. "
In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Parks said: "I'd like people to say I'm a person who always wanted to be free and wanted it not only for myself; freedom is for all human beings."
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