Nearly 43 years after she helped begin the fight of American blacks against segregation policies, Rosa Parks is encouraging generations to stand up for their beliefs.

A crowd of more than 500 people applauded Parks, 85, on Friday as she arrived to accept an award honoring her civil rights activism."I am here to speak for myself, as well as others," said Parks, who was to receive the first International Freedom Conductor Award Saturday night from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. "When you find that you're being mistreated, you can - in a quiet way, without having to get into any fusses or fights - let them know that you're getting treated wrongly."

Parks helped spark the civil rights movement by being arrested in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955 for refusing to surrender her bus seat to a white man.

Parks lives in Detroit and is a co-founder of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. Now restricted to a wheelchair, she travels to urge young people to fulfill their potential.