Throughout their lives, Rosa Parks and Helen Keller demonstrated great strength in dealing with personal misfortunes and society’s discrimination, opinions and attitudes towards people. Both women experienced prejudices, but rose above the unfair judgements of others. Helen Keller was not only blind but she was also deaf. Ms. Keller lead a very successful and full life in spite of being severely disabled. Rosa Parks is known for not giving up her bus seat when told to move because she was a black women sitting in the white section of the bus. Helen Keller never let her disabilities slow her down. Both of these women continued to show strength even when challenges were present. Showing strength through difficult times is fundamental for personal and societal change.
Rosa Parks had many accomplishments over her lifetime, but she had one in particular that changed the way people look at one another. One December evening, Rosa boarded a Montgomery city bus to return home after a long day of work. She sat in the fifth row of the bus- the first row of the black section. That evening there were more white passengers than there were seats designated for white people, so some whites had to sit in the first row of the black section where Rosa was seated. The bus driver demanded that Rosa was to move further back in the black section of the bus. Rosa refused to give up her seat for a white man and was arrested and fined $10.00. Her refusal to move triggered many future civil rights events. One such event was the boycott of the Montgomery, Alabama city bus system.
Martin Luther King, Jr, a black Baptist minister and president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, organized a boycott of the Montgomery city bus system. The Montgomery Improvement Association demanded that passengers be allowed to sit anywhere on the bus on a first come, first serve basis, with black riders sitting back to front and white passengers sitting front to back. The Association also recommended that black drivers drive black passengers. Although Rosa had experienced racism in the past, she was unwilling to remain a victim forever. She once said, “The only tired I was, was tired of giving in”. Ms. Parks willingness to speak up for her right to sit wherever she wanted showed tremendous strength during a time of racial discrimination in the southern United States.
Helen Keller had to show strength throughout her entire life because she had severe disabilities. She was blind and deaf, but this did not stop her from being a successful person. When she was nineteen months old she contracted a disease called brain fever. Her mother noticed that when she rang the dinner bell Helen did not respond. As Helen grew in to a toddler, she would scream and harm herself when in distress and would laugh uncontrollably when happy. Due to her strange behaviors, many of Helen’s relatives felt that she should be put in a institution.
However, her mother found a teacher willing to work with Helen. The teacher taught Helen how to communicate with other people. Helen loved to learn and eventually went to college. Her success didn’t stop there. She helped other people who suffered from the same disease. Ms. Keller also fought for many political and social issues including women’s suffrage and pacifism. Helen Keller showed strength and perseverance even when her own family members doubted her abilities and considered placing her in an institution. Helen illustrated her strength when she said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”.
Societal change and personal growth are affected by many different factors; strength is one of theses factors. Rosa Parks demonstrated amazing strength when she refused to give up her seat for a white person. Her quiet demeanor when she experienced discrimination showed tremendous strength and led to changes in race relations. Helen Keller also showed great personal strength. The way she managed her disabilities required a lot of motivation and a strong work ethic. Even though she was both blind and deaf, she learned to communicate and eventually became a teacher. Helen Keller was also involved in the women’s suffrage movement and promoted pacificity. Both of these women are excellent examples of how strength and perseverance can lead to personal growth and positive changes in society.