Woman of Courage Rosa Parks Dies; Influenced by Emmett Till

Rosa Parks, whose refusal half a century ago to give up her seat on a bus to a white man sparked the US civil rights movement, has died aged 92.

Ms Parks was at home with close friends by her side when she died last night, her lawyer, Gregory Reed, said.

The seamstress’s defiance of segregation laws on an Alabama bus changed the course of American history and led to her becoming known as the “mother of the civil rights movement”.

On December 1 1955, with 19th-century, post-civil war laws in place requiring the separation of the races in public throughout the US south, she was on a bus in Montgomery when a white man demanded her seat. Ms Parks, an active member of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, refused.

Earlier that year, two black Montgomery women had been arrested on the same charge, but Ms Parks was jailed and fined $14.

The incident triggered a boycott of the bus system, led by Martin Luther King, which lasted over a year.