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Birthday card contest to honor Rosa Parks


An Alabama civil rights icon is being celebrated with birthday cards this Black History Month. The City of Montgomery is holding a card contest to celebrate Rosa Parks’ 109th birthday.

All birthday cards should include a message to Parks as if she were living today.

Contest organizers said they hoped to keep Montgomery’s rich civil rights history alive. Montgomery Schools students in kindergarten through 12th grade can participate.

Yvette Jones-Smedley is Montgomery’s Director of Cultural Affairs. She said Rosa Parks exemplifies the ongoing activism of Black women.

“Rosa Parks is not the only one. She is just the one that the movement got mileage on and held her up as that person who now stands for all those other women who sat down and kept their seat,” Jones-Smedley said.

Parks refused to give up her bus seat on December 1, 1955. Her arrest led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted 380 days.

Many other women and men refused to give up their seats before the boycott began, but the NAACP saw Parks as the best candidate to see through a court challenge to segregation.

She became a figurehead of the bus boycott as a result and was later known as “the first lady of civil rights.”

Jones-Smedley said she hopes to honor Parks’ legacy through art and creative writing with this contest.

“We have engaged the literary arts as well as the visual arts because they are evaluated on both of those content levels that it takes to go in there. So, we’re looking for artistry, creative writing and also a visual component,” Jones-Smedley said.

Students can submit either digital or physical birthday cards. The contest is divided up into three categories: grades K-6 traditional, grades 7-12 traditional and digital entries–ages 13-18.

Contest winners will receive a $100 cash prize and a tour of the Rosa Parks Museum.

Interested students can drop off their entries at the Montgomery Cultural Affairs Office at 200 Coosa Street or email submissions to by Feb. 11.

Libby Foster is a news intern for Alabama Public Radio.
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