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Rosa Parks’ Snapshots: Candid Photos Of ‘The Girl On the Bus’

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Rosa Parks, the ‘Girl on the bus’ whose courageous act of defiance triggered the Montgomery bus boycott and fired the Civil Rights Movement in 1955, was no grandstanding celebrity. In these snapshots gleaned from the Library of Congress’s Rosa Parks Papers, Parks is normality personified. These snapshots epitomise her everydayness and the singularity she fought for. Feet are cut off, portraits are askew and wrongly lit. The tableau is uncontrived. These are personal pictures of a woman who became the catalyst for change. It’s the lack of convention in these images – the absence of an invasive and controlling white hand – that lets these compelling images tell their own stories.

 

Rosa Parks at a beauty salon, Miami, Florida, August 14, 1986

Rosa Parks at a beauty salon, Miami, Florida, August 14, 1986

At the Grand Canyon, Arizona, 1996

At the Grand Canyon, Arizona, 1996

Rosa Parks standing near swimming pool at a home or hotel near the coast May 1970

Rosa Parks standing near swimming pool at a home or hotel near the coast May 1970

Rosa Parks and Muhammad Ali at their Brotherhood Crusade tribute, Los Angeles, California, 1994

Rosa Parks and Muhammad Ali at their Brotherhood Crusade tribute, Los Angeles, California, 1994

Rosa Parks with family

Rosa Parks with family

Rosa Parks, Trenton, N. J. November 1956

Rosa Parks, Trenton, N. J. November 1956

Rosa Parks at ceremonies renaming 12th Street Rosa Parks Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan 1976

Rosa Parks at ceremonies renaming 12th Street Rosa Parks Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan 1976

Rosa Parks' friends from California April 6 1967

Rosa Parks’ friends from California April 6 1967

Rosa Parks at the home of Elizabeth Caffey during the State of Alabama Tea

Rosa Parks at the home of Elizabeth Caffey during the State of Alabama Tea

osa Parks standing near an apple tree with three children

osa Parks standing near an apple tree with three children

Photograph shows a half-length portrait of Rosa Parks, taken at the House of Beauty salon, Detroit, Michigan.

Photograph shows a half-length portrait of Rosa Parks, taken at the House of Beauty salon, Detroit, Michigan.

Patricia Cadwell & Rosa Parks, Detroit, Mich.

Patricia Cadwell & Rosa Parks, Detroit, Mich.

Our next door neighbors help us put up leads to antenna for T.V 1968

Our next door neighbors help us put up leads to antenna for T.V 1968

Rosa and Raymond Parks standing in front of a white automobile, likely in Detroit, Michigan May 1970

Rosa and Raymond Parks standing in front of a white automobile, likely in Detroit, Michigan May 1970

Rosa and Raymond Parks standing in a garden, likely in Detroit, Michigan May 1970

Rosa and Raymond Parks standing in a garden, likely in Detroit, Michigan May 1970

Rosa Parks at a party honoring Sallye Davis, Angela Davis' mother 1970

Rosa Parks at a party honoring Sallye Davis, Angela Davis’ mother 1970

Rosa Parks sitting near a microphone at an unidentified event, 1970

Rosa Parks sitting near a microphone at an unidentified event, 1970

Rosa Parks, full-length portrait, standing next to a Giuseppe Moricci exhibition poster

Rosa Parks, full-length portrait, standing next to a Giuseppe Moricci exhibition poster

Rosa Parks, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front

Rosa Parks, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front

Rosa Parks sitting on a sofa, facing right]

Rosa Parks sitting on a sofa, facing right

Rodney Lynn - Rosa L. Parks

Rodney Lynn – Rosa L. Parks

Rosa Parks cooking at a McDonald's restaurant grill

Rosa Parks cooking at a McDonald’s restaurant grill

Rosa Parks, half-length portrait facing right

Rosa Parks, half-length portrait facing right

Rosa Parks attending her 68th birthday party, Detroit, Michigan, 1981

Rosa Parks attending her 68th birthday party, Detroit, Michigan, 1981

Rosa Parks at a home, likely in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1984

Rosa Parks at a home, likely in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1984

Rosa Parks at a beauty salon, possibly Jacksonville, Florida, 1986

Rosa Parks at a beauty salon, possibly Jacksonville, Florida, 1986

Rosa Parks at a beauty salon, possibly Jacksonville, Florida, 1986

Rosa Parks at a beauty salon, possibly Jacksonville, Florida, 1986

Rosa Parks, Eleanor 1988

Rosa Parks, Eleanor 1988

Rosa Parks, Susan McCauley, Elaine Steele and others at a restaurant, Hampton, Virginia, 1989

Rosa Parks, Susan McCauley, Elaine Steele and others at a restaurant, Hampton, Virginia, 1989

Rosa Parks' friends and family, California, 1990

Rosa Parks’ friends and family, California, 1990

osa Parks' friends and family, California, 1990

osa Parks’ friends and family, California, 1990

Physicist Stephen Hawking, Rosa Parks and others at an event 1990

Physicist Stephen Hawking, Rosa Parks and others at an event 1990

Rosa Parks signing copies of her 1992 autobiography, Rosa Parks, My Story, 1992

Rosa Parks signing copies of her 1992 autobiography, Rosa Parks, My Story, 1992

Rosa Parks' extended family seated around table 1995

Rosa Parks’ extended family seated around table 1995