Until I moved to the US I knew nothing about the women named Rosa Parks. A women who changed the future and rights of African Americans. On December 1st in 1955 at age of 42, Rosa bordered a Montgomery city bus on her journey home from work as a seamstress. After sitting herself behind the 10 seats reserved for white travellers (remember America was highly colour segregated at the time and transportation was always one of the most volatile areas for segregation) the bus began to fill. When a white man stepped on board, and following the standard segregation practice the bus driver instructed all the four blacks sitting behind the white section to give up their seating so the man could sit. Rosa refused, she's later quoted as saying "I knew that I had the strength of my ancestors with me".
Yet she was arrested and convicted of violating the laws of segregation being fined $14 for doing so. From the shadows of the incident local civil rights activists initiated a boycotting of the Montgomery bus system - their leader a young Baptist minster - Martin Luther King, Jr. Considering 75% of all riders in Montgomery were African American were black this then posed a serious economic threat to the bus company. This bus boycott marks the beginning of non-violent mass protests in support of civil rights in the USA - Rosa Parks being the mother of the freedom rights movement. She died in Detroit in 2005 aged 92 and you can see and sit on the actual bus in the Henry Ford museum here in Dearborn, Michigan which I did back in November 2011. Her birthday is always marked and now she has a freedom stamp in her honour.
The Rosa Parks Forever stamp - image taken from the USPS website.