Happy Birthday Rosa Parks! Beverly Guy-Sheftall Shares What You May Not Know About Her

Born on this day in 1913, Rosa Parks was on her way home from work when she took a seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. When the bus driver asked the African-American seamstress to get up and give her seat to a white passenger, she refused and was arrested. This arrest ultimately triggered the end of segregation, when the entire African-American community in Montgomery refused to ride the bus for 381 days in protest. 


MAKER Beverly Guy-Sheftall, one of the leading African-American feminist scholars of our time, shared with MAKERS that this civil rights heroine, most known for taking a seat, had actually been standing up for many issues for years, and was even more remarkable than you may know.


Raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Guy-Sheftall has spent most of her adult life at Spelman College, the oldest historically black college for women. She entered Spelman as a student at the age of 16, where she studied English and secondary education. After receiving her Masters in English from Atlanta University and teaching briefly at Alabama State University, she returned to Spelman in 1971. She has taught there ever since, providing the leadership to create the first women’s studies major at a historically black college.