Rosa Parks received the Congressional Medal of Freedom in Detroit in 1999 - AP photo.
Small acts of courage can have huge consequences. Rosa Parks' life exemplifies the idea that a seemingly ordinary person can perform heroic acts which can benefit society at large. But she was far from an ordinary person - she had been involved in efforts to improve the lives of Black people well before her arrest in 1955. A new biography of Parks, “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” by Jeanne Theoharis, paints a portrait of a citizen who didn't shirk her duty when confronted with wrongdoing. A fitting tribute on her 100th birthday.