February 4, 1913: Rosa Parks Is Born

Civil rights icon Rosa Parks was born on this day in 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her 1955 refusal to move from a bus seat reserved for whites triggered a national campaign to end segregation. She became an important symbol of the Civil Rights Movement and is known as ‘the first lady of civil rights.’

Explore Rosa Parks’ life and legacy with PBS Black Culture Connection.

Photo: Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (National Archives)Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (National Archives)


February 4, 1861: The Confederate States of America is formed.

In November of 1860, Abraham Lincoln, a one-term U.S. representative and candidate for the newly-formed Republican Party, was elected President of the United States with just under 40% of the popular vote. Rather than remain in a union whose president had won the election with a party promising “free labor, free land, free men”, seven southern slaveholding states seceded. The first was South Carolina, birthplace of John C. Calhoun and historical hotbed of states’ rights sentiment, and the last of the original seven was Texas, which seceded in February, a little over a month before Lincoln took office.

Six delegates convened in Montgomery, Alabama in the chambers of the state senate on February 4, 1861. Their first meeting marked the founding of the Confederate States of America, and in the coming months the Montgomery Convention drafted a Constitution and appointed former Secretary of War and veteran congressman Jefferson Davis president opposite the comparatively inexperienced Abraham Lincoln. In his Cornerstone Speech (March 21, 1861), the Confederate States’ vice president Alexander Stephens asserted that “our peculiar institution African slavery” was the “immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution”. He also declared that the founding principle of the new Confederate state, for which hundreds of thousands of lives would soon be spent, should be the principle of black racial inferiority:

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.


Happy birthday, Rosa Parks! 

Born today in 1913, Parks was a civil rights activist whose act of defiance in refusing to move seats on a bus to accommodate white passengers in December, 1955 became a symbol of the civil rights movement.

Parks was arrested and charged with a violation of the segregation laws of Montgomery, Alabama. She was bailed out a day later by members of the NAACP Montgomery chapter. Word quickly spread throughout the community of what had happened to Parks, and a boycott of the Montgomery bus service by black passengers began December 5. It lasted 381 days and resulted in a Supreme Court ruling that segregation of Alabama’s buses was unconstitutional.

Remarking on her actions that day, Parks said, “people always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”


February 4 Birthday Profile

Aquarians born on February 4 are intelligent and quirky and can give the impression of being “airheads”; in reality they are more practical than they seem. They are inspired by what can be achieved through hard work. They have enormous self-discipline and can be extremely austere when it comes to cutting unnecessary encumbrances.

Friends and Lovers

Strong friendships are among the greatest joys in the lives of February 4 people. They connect more on an intellectual than emotional level but don’t rule out a spiritual component. Unfortunately, they are often less successful in romantic relationships. They often fall in love with people who don’t live up to their standards.

Children and Family

February 4 natives learn many of their finest character traits from parents. They make the best-intentioned parents, though they have a tendency to be somewhat preachy. They are a strong force in the lives of their children and continue to play this role long after their youngsters are grown.


February 4 people often learn mental toughness through physical self-discipline. They enjoy putting themselves through the paces. They enjoy the sense of power that comes from feeling fit and derive considerable satisfaction from staying young in body as well as in mind.

Career and Finances

Humanitarian and social issues are the chief concerns of people born on February 4. They are not interested in money for what it can buy but for what it can accomplish for others through them. They are never frivolous spenders.

Dreams and Goals

If only half the goals February 4 people envision come true, they will consider themselves fortunate. They often tilt at windmills, yet their deep commitment makes it impossible for them to behave any other way. They are often less successful with making their personal dreams come true.

They should avoid: A critical demeanor, public opinion, truculence

They should embrace: Being at ease with oneself, daring, giving thanks

On May 24, 1976, Concorde service from London and Paris to Washington, DC began. The turbojet-powered supersonic passenger jet was designed to travel over twice the speed of sound and seat between 92 and 128 passengers.

Scheduled flights began earlier that year between Asia, Europe, and South America. However, in the United States, citizens protested sonic booms, preventing Concorde landings in the country. The ban didn’t last however, as the US Secretary of Transportation, William Coleman, authorized Concorde flights into Washington Dulles International Airport on February 4, 1976.

The first flights to reach Washington, DC on May 24 that year were operated by Air France and British Airways. The following year, the Concorde ban at John F. Kennedy International Airport was lifted and flights began arriving to New York from London and Paris. Ultimately, Concorde was retired in 2003 due to decreased air travel popularity after the aircraft’s only crash in 2000 and the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Image: “Supersonic Transport SST Concorde Airplane” 9/15/1976

February 4, 2012.
Today is Kim Jaejoong’s [techincally Han Jaejoong’s] real birthday.
Happy birthday to my first TVXQ bias ever. Though I may be very committed to Jung Yunho now, know that I will always love you unconditionally. Know that you’ll always be my first love. Know that you’re still very special to me. I hope you stay healthy and live happily. I do not like your recent tweets, Jaejoong. You sound so morose and it’s only been a week since your birthday [January 26]. I want to dispel all of your problems. Smile, Jae. I wish for many, many more birthdays to come. I love you.

Telegram to James Meredith February 4, 1961, 2/4/1961

“For your information and guidance it has been found necessary to discontinue consideration of all applications for admission or registration for the second semester which were received after January 25 1961.  Your application was received subsequent to such date and thus we must advise you not to appear for registration.”

File Unit: Ole Miss Integration - James Meredith, 5/1961 - 1963Series: Assistant Attorney General Mississippi Files, 7/1959 - 1963Collection: The Personal Papers of Burke Marshall, 1944 - 2003

Telegram from the University of Mississippi received by James Meredith, following his letter to the University of January 31, 1961, in which he explained his situation and identified himself as an African American.  A segregated all-white institution, the university rescinded its offer of acceptance to Meredith once it was apparent he was African American, starting a series of legal battles including the involvement of the U.S. Supreme Court and President John F. Kennedy.

Read more at Integrating Ole Miss from the John F. Kennedy Library