Rosa Parks

Album: Aquemini (1998)
Charted: 55

Songfacts®:

  • Rosa Parks is a black civil rights activist from Alabama famous for refusing to give up her seat on a bus. In 1955, while riding the bus home from work, the driver ordered her to move to the back of the bus so a white man could have her seat. She refused and was arrested. This led to outrage in the black community, who boycotted public transportation in the city of Montgomery. It was a turning point in the US civil rights movement, as after a year of boycotts, segregation on busses was ruled unconstitutional. During the boycotts, Martin Luther King Jr. emerged as a leader in the black community, and was praised for his tactics of peaceful civil disobedience.
  • The song is about the entertainment industry. Parks is not actually mentioned in the lyrics and has nothing to do with the song, but she is referred to in the chorus of "Move to the back of the bus."
  • Parks sued Outkast over this, claiming it exploited her image. The case was settled in 2005, with Outkast and their record company agreeing "To enlighten today's youth about the significant role Rosa Parks played in making America a better place for all races." Parks was 92 when the case was settled.
  • The harmonica solo is by Pastor Robert Hodo, the stepfather of Outkast's Andre 3000.
  • This plays in the ESPN 10-part documentary The Last Dance in a scene where Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls play the Atlanta Hawks in 1998. The song is appropriate to the era, and Outkast is from Atlanta, giving it a strong connection to the scene.

Comments: 3

  • Tiaunna from Perris, Carosa parks didnt sue them...it was her publicist or something that did! she didnt have nothing against them
  • Nicole from Los Angeles, Carosa parks name is actually mentioned in the song!
  • Ryan from San Francisco, Carosa parks is sort of a punk. she came and spoke at my college once and all she was interested in talking about was her book that she was pushing. every question anyone had she was all, 'yeah, just read my book.' then, lo and behold after we walked out of the auditorium, there was a table set up with dudes selling her book. whatever. i mean, huh?
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Victoria WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

Despite appearances on Carson, Leno and a Pennebaker film, Williams remains a hidden treasure.

AC/DCFact or Fiction

Does Angus really drink himself silly? Did their name come from a sewing machine? See if you can spot the real stories about AC/DC.

George ClintonSongwriter Interviews

When you free your mind, your ass may follow, but you have to make sure someone else doesn't program it while it's wide open.

Lajon Witherspoon of SevendustSongwriter Interviews

The Sevendust frontman talks about the group's songwriting process, and how trips to the Murder Bar helped forge their latest album.

Colin HaySongwriter Interviews

Established as a redoubtable singer-songwriter, the Men At Work frontman explains how religion, sobriety and Jack Nicholson play into his songwriting.

Billy Gould of Faith No MoreSongwriter Interviews

Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, chats to us about his two new experimental projects, The Talking Book and House of Hayduk, and also shares some stories from the FNM days.