Clicky

38 Powerful & Informative Rosa Parks Quotes

Graphic Quote: It is better to teach or live equality and love… than to have hatred and prejudice. — Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks — often referred to as “the mother of the civil rights movement” — is celebrated for her courageous act of defiance on December 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, to a white man. 

Her quiet strength and determined resistance became a pivotal symbol in the fight against racial segregation and helped to ignite the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Beyond this historic moment, Parks continued to be an active advocate for civil rights throughout her life, inspiring countless individuals to stand up against injustice.

In this collection, we’ve curated some of Rosa Parks’ most memorable quotes. May these words offer a glimpse into her character and convictions — and serve as a source of inspiration for all who fight for equality and social justice.

The Best Quotes from Rosa Parks

Famous Quotes

“Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.”
— Rosa Parks

“Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.” — Rosa Parks

“Life is to be lived to its fullest so that death is just another chapter. Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.”
— Rosa Parks

“Life is to be lived to its fullest so that death is just another chapter. Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.” — Rosa Parks

“We still have a long way to go, we still have many obstacles and many challenges to face. It’s far from perfect, and it may never be, but I think as long as we do the best we can to improve conditions, then people will be benefited.”
— Rosa Parks, in a 1995 interview with the Academy of Achievement

“We still have a long way to go, we still have many obstacles and many challenges to face. It’s far from perfect, and it may never be, but I think as long as we do the best we can to improve conditions, then people will be benefited.” — Rosa Parks, in a 1995 interview with the Academy of Achievement

“There were times when it would have been easy to fall apart or to go in the opposite direction, but somehow I felt that if I took one more step, someone would come along to join me.”
— Rosa Parks

“There were times when it would have been easy to fall apart or to go in the opposite direction, but somehow I felt that if I took one more step, someone would come along to join me.” — Rosa Parks‍

“I believe there is only one race — The Human Race.”
— Rosa Parks

“I believe there is only one race — The Human Race.” — Rosa Parks

“Without vision, people perish, and without courage and inspiration dreams die.”
— Rosa Parks

“Without vision, people perish, and without courage and inspiration dreams die.” — Rosa Parks

“Differences of race, nationality or religion should not be used to deny any human being citizenship rights or privileges.”
— Rosa Parks

“Differences of race, nationality or religion should not be used to deny any human being citizenship rights or privileges.” — Rosa Parks

“What really matters is not whether we have problems, but whether we go through them. We must keep going on to make it through whatever we are facing.”
— Rosa Parks

“What really matters is not whether we have problems, but whether we go through them. We must keep going on to make it through whatever we are facing.” — Rosa Parks

About Equality

“It is better to teach or live equality and love… than to have hatred and prejudice.”
— Rosa Parks

“It is better to teach or live equality and love… than to have hatred and prejudice.” — Rosa Parks

“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would also be free.”
— Rosa Parks

“As I look back on those days, it’s just like a dream. The only thing that bothered me was that we waited so long to make this protest and to let it be known wherever we go that all of us should be free and equal and have all opportunities that others should have.”
— Rosa Parks

“Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.”
— Rosa Parks

“Whatever my individual desires were to be free, I was not alone. There were many others who felt the same way.”
— Rosa Parks

“I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.”
— Rosa Parks

“I believe we are here on the planet Earth to live grow up and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.”
— Rosa Parks

“I believe we are here on the planet Earth to live grow up and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.” — Rosa Parks

About Change

“I see the energy of young people as a real force for positive change.”
— Rosa Parks

“I see the energy of young people as a real force for positive change.” — Rosa Parks

“I knew someone had to take the first step and I made up my mind not to move.”
— Rosa Parks

“From the time I was a child, I tried to protest against disrespectful treatment.”
— Rosa Parks

“I don’t think well of people who are prejudiced against people because of race. The only way for prejudiced people to change is for them to decide for themselves that all human beings should be treated fairly. We can’t force them to think that way.”
— Rosa Parks

“To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try.”
— Rosa Parks

“The advice I would give any young person is, first of all, to rid themselves of prejudice against other people and to be concerned about what they can do to help others. And of course, to get a good education, and take advantage of the opportunities that they have. In fact, there are more opportunities today than when I was young. And whatever they do, to think positively and be concerned about other people, to think in terms of them being able to not succumb to many of the temptations, especially the use of drugs and substances that will destroy the physical health, as well as mental health.”
— Rosa Parks, in a 1995 interview with the Academy of Achievement

“The advice I would give any young person is, first of all, to rid themselves of prejudice against other people and to be concerned about what they can do to help others. And of course, to get a good education, and take advantage of the opportunities that they have. In fact, there are more opportunities today than when I was young. And whatever they do, to think positively and be concerned about other people, to think in terms of them being able to not succumb to many of the temptations, especially the use of drugs and substances that will destroy the physical health, as well as mental health.”— Rosa Parks, in a 1995 interview with the Academy of Achievement

→ Read more quotes about change
→ Read more quotes about making a difference in the world

On Her Refusal To Move — On the Bus

“I knew someone had to take the first step and I made up my mind not to move.”
— Rosa Parks

“I knew someone had to take the first step and I made up my mind not to move.” — Rosa Parks

“I was arrested on December 1st, 1955 for refusing to stand up on the order of the bus driver, after the white seats had been occupied in the front. And of course, I was not in the front of the bus as many people have written and spoken that I was — that I got on the bus and took the front seat, but I did not. I took a seat that was just back of where the white people were sitting, in fact, the last seat. A man was next to the window, and I took an aisle seat and there were two women across. We went on undisturbed until about the second or third stop when some white people boarded the bus and left one man standing. And when the driver noticed him standing, he told us to stand up and let him have those seats. He referred to them as front seats. And when the other three people — after some hesitancy — stood up, he wanted to know if I was going to stand up, and I was not. And he told me he would have me arrested. And I told him he may do that. And of course, he did.”
— Rosa Parks, in a 1995 interview with the Academy of Achievement

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
— Rosa Parks, Rosa Parks: My Story

“I had given up my seat before, but this day, I was especially tired. Tired from my work as a seamstress, and tired from the ache in my heart.”
— Rosa Parks

“At the time I was arrested, I had no idea it would turn into this. It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in.”
— Rosa Parks

“You spend your whole lifetime in your occupation, actually making life clever, easy and convenient for white people. But when you have to get transportation home, you are denied an equal accommodation. Our existence was for the white man’s comfort and well-being; we had to accept being deprived of just being human.”
— Rosa Parks

“I did not want to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time… there was an opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn’t hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became.”
— Rosa Parks

“I did not want to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time… there was an opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn’t hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became.” — Rosa Parks‍

Short Rosa Parks Quotes

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.”
— Rosa Parks

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.” — Rosa Parks‍

“Each person must live their life as a model for others.”
— Rosa Parks

“I’m tired of being treated like a second-class citizen.”
— Rosa Parks

“I am proud to be an American. America is a wonderful country.”
— Rosa Parks, Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialogue With Today’s Youth

“There is no future without education.”
— Rosa Parks

“Our mistreatment was just not right, and I was tired of it.”
— Rosa Parks

“Our mistreatment was just not right, and I was tired of it.” — Rosa Parks

→ Read more short quotes

More Rosa Parks Quotes

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes the fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
— Rosa Parks

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes the fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” — Rosa Parks

“I try to not think of those things that we cannot control, but I think if we continue to work with positive attitudes, conditions will be better for more people.”
— Rosa Parks, in a 1995 interview with the Academy of Achievement

“Time begins the healing process of wounds cut deeply by oppression. We soothe ourselves with the salve of attempted indifference.”
— Rosa Parks

“I do the very best I can to look upon life with optimism and hope and looking forward to a better day, but I don’t think there is any such thing as complete happiness. It pains me that there is still a lot of Klan activity and racism. I think when you say you’re happy, you have everything that you need and everything that you want, and nothing more to wish for. I haven’t reached that stage yet.”
— Rosa Parks

“Our freedom is threatened every time one of our young people is killed by another child… every time a person gets stopped and beaten by the police because of the color of their skin.”
— Rosa Parks

“There is just so much hurt, disappointment, and oppression one can take… The line between reason and madness grows thinner.”
— Rosa Parks

“I will no longer act on the outside in a way that contradicts the truth that I hold deeply inside. I will no longer act as if I were less than the whole person I know myself inwardly to be.”
— Rosa Parks

“I will no longer act on the outside in a way that contradicts the truth that I hold deeply inside. I will no longer act as if I were less than the whole person I know myself inwardly to be.” ‍— Rosa Parks

You might also like: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quotes | Madeleine Albright Quotes | Malala Yousafzai Quotes | Amanda Gorman Quotes | Coretta Scott King Quotes | Maya Angelou Quotes | Marsha P. Johnson Quotes | Glennon Doyle Quotes | Dolly Parton Quotes | Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes

Article Details

January 14, 2024 1:45 PM
Quote Graphic: None of us can be liberated if other groups are not. — Gloria Steinem, in a speech

67 Most Iconic Quotes from Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem, a trailblazing feminist, journalist, and social-political activist, has been a leading voice in the women’s liberation movement for decades. 
Quote Graphic: Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough. — Emily Dickinson

150 Life Quotes: Hope, Inspiration, & Positivity

These quotes shed light on the complexities, joys, and inevitable struggles we all face...
Quote Wallpaper Graphic saying: When you are willing to make sacrifices for a great cause, you will never be alone. — by Coretta Scott King

25 Best Coretta Scott King Quotes About Positive Change

You might know King as the wife of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., however, her legacy extends far beyond the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. 
Quote Graphic: The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice. — Bryan Stevenson

97 Best Quotes About Justice To Inspire Positive Change

Justice is one of the most important ideals in our society. It's what we strive for in order to create a fair and equitable world. Here are dozens of the best quotes about justice, from powerful leaders, thinkers, activists, and everyday people alike. 

Want to stay up-to-date on positive news?

The best email in your inbox.
Filled with the day’s best good news.