Civil rights icon Rosa Parks was born in Tuskegee, Ala., on this day in 1913. On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Ala., bus and was arrested. Her courageous stand against racial injustice inspired a boycott of the Montgomery bus system that lasted one year, and would serve as the catalyst for the civil rights movement. Parks, who died in Oct. 2005, dedicated her life to activism and stood as a symbol of freedom for all. She was honored with some 43 honorary doctorates and many prestigious awards, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Non-Violent Peace Prize. In 1996, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom award, the highest award given to an American civilian.
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(Photo: Larry Downing/Reuters)