Rosa Parks: My Story Rosa Parks with Jim Haskins Dial Books, $17
When, on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to a white passenger, she was arrested for violating the state's segregation law. Her arrest inspired a yearlong bus boycott that propelled the then 26-year-old Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to leadership in the civil rights movement. It also led to a 1956 Supreme Court ruling that declared Montgomery's segregated busing system to be unconstitutional.
Parks, now 80 years old, quickly became a national symbol of quiet assertiveness. Her blend of unassailable dignity and humble origins embodied the goals and spirit of the nonviolent mass movement that she, in effect, inaugurated. An explanation of how life led her to that juncture, her concise book also corrects an all too popularly held version of her deed: it was not tired feet that made her refuse to get up. "The only tired I was, was tired of giving in," she writes.
This plainspoken narrative traces the origins of her family's defiance of racism back to the era of …