With a courageous act of civil disobedience, Rosa Parks sparked a challenge to segregation that culminated in one of the seminal victories of the modern civil rights movement. On December 1, 1955, while traveling on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama, the seamstress was arrested for refusing the driver's demand that she surrender her seat to a white male passenger.
When Parks was convicted of violating local segregation laws, Montgomery's African American community launched a massive one-day boycott of the city's bus system. The boycott expanded with the help of Martin Luther King Jr. to last 382 days, ending only after the U.S. Supreme Count ruled bus segregation unconstitutional.
Rosa Parks / Marshall D. Rumbaugh / Painted limewood, 1983 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution