Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum plans activities to mark Parks’ birthday

The Rosa Parks Museum will celebrate what would have been Mrs. Parks' 108th birthday this week with activities on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Rosa Parks Museum will celebrate what would have been Mrs. Parks' 108th birthday this week with activities on Wednesday and Thursday.

Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum will celebrate what would have been the Civil Rights icon’s 108th birthday with special events on Wednesday and Thursday, including a partner project with the City of Montgomery that encourages K-12 students to design birthday cards for Parks.

The Museum will kick off activities with a virtual author talk with Dr. Jeanne Theoharis via Facebook Live and Zoom at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Theoharis is the author of “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” a biography, originally published in 2013, that examines Parks’ life and her activism. The book helps readers understand Parks, from meeting her husband, Raymond, who showed her the possibility of collective activism, to her years of frustrated struggle before the boycott, to the decade of suffering that followed for her family after her bus arrest. The book follows Parks to Detroit, after her family was forced to leave Montgomery, Alabama, where she spent the second half of her life and reveals her activism alongside a growing Black Power movement and beyond.

The book was recognized as the 2014 NAACP Image Award Winner: Outstanding Literary Work, received the 2013 Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians and was among Choice’s Top 25 Academic Titles for 2013.

The celebration will continue on Mrs. Parks’ birthday on Thursday with free admission to the Museum from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and mini-birthday cupcakes while supplies last. Visitors will also have the opportunity to create a birthday card for Mrs. Parks.

The City of Montgomery’s art challenge encourages K-12 students to create a birthday card that includes a message that students would share if Mrs. Parks was alive today.

Eligibility is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Participants can choose to submit a paper entry, using crayons, markers and paint, or a digital entry – or e-card. Contest submissions must be emailed to or delivered to the City’s Special Events Office at 200 Coosa Street. Each student’s name, grade, school and parental consent should be included in the submission.

A total of three winners will be announced on Feb. 4. Winners will span three categories: Grades K-6 Traditional, Grades 7-12 Traditional and Digital Entries – Ages 13-18 Years Old. Awards include a cash prize of $100, a ride on the Rosa Parks bus and a tour of the Rosa Parks museum. Entries will be displayed through February at Montgomery Plaza near the Rosa Parks statue.

Mayor Steven L. Reed will present awards to winning students at the Montgomery City Council meeting on Feb. 16, which begins at 5 p.m. at Montgomery City Hall, 103 N. Perry Street. The award packages are provided by The Rosa Parks Museum and Sam’s Club of Montgomery.