At the time that Rosa Parks decided not to get out of her bus seat in 1955, African Americans across the United States were treated like second-class citizens. Sometimes they were not even considered citizens. They were not allowed to use "white-only" restaurants or hotels. They were kept out of public schools, parks, and swimming pools. And perhaps most importantly, they were not allowed to vote.
Over the course of the next decade, African Americans and their white supporters organized a movement that changed American society profoundly. They marched. They sat-in. They lobbied for new laws. They fought in the courts. It took incredible courage. While the activists tried to be nonviolent, their efforts were often met with beatings and even murder.
But in just a few years' time, the United States was a different country. The "Jim Crow" system that prevented African Americans from being full citizens of their own country was gone. It is a remarkable story, full of heroes known and unknown.