Rosa Parks and Civil Rights Movement

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On December 1, 1955, the course of history changed with a simple act of courage which staggered the people of the United States and created a shift in the black community. This act of bravery came from the one and only, Rosa Parks. Known as the “Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement”, Parks was born on February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama to James and Leona Edwards McCauley. Due to the illness of her grandmother, Rose Edwards and soon her mother, Parks dropped out of Alabama State College Teacher’s High School to care for her grandmother and mother but was soon able to receive her high school diploma in 1934.

Throughout that time, Parks has been exposed to the racial segregation, deeply rooted racism and the conflicting differences she has faced based solely on the color of her skin, but these have only motivated Parks to be the change that her community needed and later the change that the United States needed. Rosa Parks not only joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), became famously known for the refusal of her seat to a white man in 1955, and co-founded The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development and each of these events established a foundation for her voice and opinions to be heard, not to be ignored.

Rosa Park has been an activist since her early attempts to free the “Scottsboro Boys”, a case in which nine African American teenagers were accused of violating two American white women. In 1943, Parks became active in the civil rights community by joining the Montgomery chapter in the NAACP where she held the position of a secretary for the NAACP President E.D. Nixon and served as a youth leader until 1957.

Parks’ responsibilities included fund-raising, attending meetings, which discussed the protection of black people’s rights and sought to prevent injustice. Only 30 years old, Rosa Parks has contributed to the civil rights movement to demonstrate the change that is needed in the black community. She has seen the racial injustice and discrimination that the black community is facing each and every day. Instead of allowing the law to silence her voice, she has donated her commitment and time to the civil rights movement, hoping for the day the system will break, racial segregation will end and racism being no more.

December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks boards the Cleveland Avenue bus at 6:00 in the evening, after a long day at the Montgomery Fair department store. Not noticing the bus driver was James F. Blake, who had left her soaking in the rain in 1943, Parks had taken a seat in the “colored” section towards the middle of the bus which was specifically ten seats behind the section reserved for “whites”. As bus travelled its regular route, the number of passengers began to increase resulting in the bus being filled with no seats left to spare.

Blake noticed that there two to three white passengers standing up and moved the “colored” section sign to the seat behind Rosa Parks so that the white passengers will have more seats available for them. He then demanded that four other black people and Rosa Parks give their seats up in the middle section. When the moment came for her turn to give her seat, Parks said “When that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night” (“Rosa Parks Biography”). This exact determination gave Parks the power to not let the system silence her but to speak her mind by declining Blake’s request and standing firm by her decision.

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Rosa Parks and Civil Rights Movement. (2021, Mar 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/rosa-parks-and-civil-rights-movement/

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