A Legendary Woman Rosa Parks
The early 1900’s were a rough time for blacks in Montgomery, Alabama, and all over the world for that matter. Segregation had become a natural way of life in many states, but especially Alabama. Blacks were tormented, seperated, and always second best. Until one woman’s innocent soul, had finally had it. The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement was that one innocent soul. Rosa refused to give up her rightfully earned seat on the bus, because she decided she would not be pushed around and discriminated against any longer.
Being a black in Montgomery, Alabama was how most experienced being mistreated on a daily basis. It was just a matter of survival…of existing from one day to the next(Abbey,2006). Yes, black and whites were segregated and they received completely different treatment compared to each other. They very rarely received any type of attention compared to white people, and they were always second best. Second to receive, second to know, and second to earn, no matter what the situation was. Even the good things in life came with a catch. They gave more than they got in return and it all went to the whites. Blacks in Rosas life time did not live a life, they survived. They earned just enough to keep from starvation, to put clothes on their backs, and to put roofs over their heads. They were trashed and shamed just because of the color of their skin. Their lives were no lives at all, they were just dead weights, that became heavier as time passed by. Yet Rosa survived, she kept up and remembered she would one day be treated equally.
Rosa’s fire to be treated equally was sparked at a very young age. Growing up, blacks worked in fields for small amounts of pay, basically lived in shacks, ate in seperate restraunts than whites, and could never drink for the whites water fountain. She witnessed beatings of black men by the Ku Klux Klan. She witnessed buildings being set a flame, and would watch as they burned and fell to ashes. She never could sleep at night due to the fear of her own home being burnt while she was asleep. Rosa, had had enough even as a child, and she knew the difference between what she was getting and what she deserved.
Rosa lived with her maternal grandparents for the majority of her life. She had a very close relationship with her grandfather, and followed in his foot steps. He encouraged her rebellion towards being treated unfairly. He taught her to stand up for herself and never let someone treat you a certain way that you know you do not deserve. He is the reason she stood up for herself that day on the bus. Rosa’s grandfather planted the small seed of fire in Rosa’s heart, which evolved into an unextinguishable flame. He was truly the rock solid foundation on which she would forever stand. As anyone could imagine one would definitely have to learn how to stand up for ones self and provide for their family if they wanted to survive.
Usually if a person is very well respected by others no person would mess with the, especially when you have never caused any problems.She was probably the only person in Montgomery, Alabama that had no enemies, and that everybody respected,former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young recalled. There had been others who had been humiliated on the buses before. She was not the first, but when she was thrown in jail it said to all of Montgomery that none of us is safe. It was the purity of her character that galvanized the movement(West,2006). Rosa was one who kept to herself most of the time so nobody really disliked her, nor did she hate anyone. She was respectful and respected, so there was really never anyone who wanted to pick fights with her.
With all of this being said, when Rosa was put into jail for violating segregation rights others were very alarmed. Because if Rosa being a well respected person was so easily thrown in jail then what were the whites of Montgomery, Alabama really capable of. Rosa was a seamstress and had just finished a long day of work and was taking the bus home, which was her usual routine. As you would figure whites get the good seats at the front of the bus , while blacks had to sit in the back and sometimes stand. Well when the bus becomes full is when blacks have to stand because they are forced by the segregation laws to give their seats to the whites. Rosa had gotten the last open seat on the bus, that was until a white man loaded it. Rosa was asked by the bus driver to move, but she politefully told them that was not going to happen. She was arrested and thrown in jail, but that sparked a boycott.
All throughout her lifetime Rosa was mistreated. Whether it was getting made fun of, spoken to rudely, or frowned upon it never failed. Rosa’s reason for not giving up her seat was not because she was worn out from work, it was because she was done being treated like she was nothing. She was done being treated like a dog, done being pushed around, done being humiliated by others, but most importantly she was done being punished for a crime of which she never committed. And what seemed to be one of the worst days of Rosa Parks life, paved the way to one of the best things that would ever happen to her. The moment in her life that Rosa worked and built up too had finally come. the Supreme Court has finally declared the segregated seating on the bus unconstitutional. By December 20th Rosa would no longer have to fight for her seat on the bus. All of her hard work and determination had finally payed off. Rosa Parks was the woman who bore the Civil Rights Movement. She pushed for her rightful place in the work everyday. She brought peaceful means between all people, and would forever be honored for her bravery. That small step she took towards equality, would lead to an eternity of freedom.
When one thinks of fighting, they usually think of something violent. Throughout her life , she fought through peaceful means for the rights of all people(Abbey, 2016). Rosa Parks was a very strong and peaceful woman. All that she wanted was to be treated equally. Her entire life long and generations before her lived in a world of horror. Rosa believed everyone was good and deserved to be treated just the same, and she never resolved to violence. Rosa always wanted peace with everyone, even those who mistreated her. So she would fight but not violently, even if it meant all she could do was protest until her very last breath. Rosa not only helped others but she encouraged them. She took on being humiliated time after time during her fights to be equal, but that never stopped her. She continued on and made a good life for herself and others. Her small fragile body had become a symbol of strength, bravery, and courage. She spread her word throughout Alabama and trekked on for Civil Rights, and Civil Rights she got. She also encouraged others to fight for themselves and what they deserve. Because if she could make a difference then so can anyone else!
The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement made a large impact on the U.S. , and is a large reason for why we are the country we are today. I mean she even inspired our former president Bill Clinton, and that’s a HUGE deal. Everyday men and women work to make America a free and welcoming place. Rosa was one of those people. America is still growing and progressing today, with new people and new ideas. Rosa’s act of bravery on the bus that day is the reason we all are where we are in society today. Whenever someone is fighting for Rights, they either choose to fight violently or peacefully and Rosa chose peacefully so that she never put anyone in pain, even those who put her in pain.
Most of the time when someone gets what they want they stop working for it. She remained active in the NAACP, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference established the annual Rosa Parks Freedom Award in her honour. In 1987 she cofounder the Rosa and Raymond Parks institute for Self Development to provide career training for young people. She was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom(1996) and the Congressional Gold Medal(1999)(Encyclopedia Britannica, 2018). Rosa was a member of NAACP or the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which she remained in for a very long time. Rosa Parks had become so well known for her courage and bravery that others honored her and wanted to thank her for ending bus segregation.
Therefore many rewards were made in Rosas name. She was founder of the Rosa and Raymond Parks institute, its in the name of her and her late husband Raymond Parks. The institution takes different children from around the work, traveling on bus , learning about the Civil Rights Movement, and trained them for future jobs. You could say she was a very influential women who made an amazing impact on others. And when Rosa won what she was fighting for she never stopped spreading her word. Which is what most admire about her.
Rosa is a legendary woman who helped shape the U.S into the nation it is today. She survived as a black child in Alabama, managed to become respected, fought peacefully; although she wasn’t treated peacefully, and still stayed active as a civil rights activist until her death. She made sure that no one mocked her to her grave. Rosa definitely was a strong, independent woman, that never let the color of her skins define who she was and who she was gonna be. And for that African Americans all around the world will forever thank her.
- Abbey, C. D. (2006). Biography today. profiles of people of interest to young readers. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics.
- Rosa Parks. (2018). In Encyclopidia Britannica. Retrieved from https://school.eb.com/levels/high/article/Rosa-Parks/1689
- West, M. R. (2005, November 14). Rosa Parks: mother of the Civil Rights Movement 1913-2005. Jet, 108(20), 4+. Retrieved from https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A138860999/GPS?u=j081904&sid=GPS&xid=c1f7c216
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