Imagine a world where you were treated unequally because of the color of your skin.
The unfairness it would bring, and everyone being too afraid to fight back. What if our world was still like this? What would you do? This is the type of world Rosa Parks lived in, and she bravely fought against it by simply staying seated. Jail Time and ProtestingRosa Parks has been to jail twice in her life for one protest. How did it happen? Well, it was a December night, 6:00 pm in the year 1955.
Rosa Parks was just finishing her work as a seamstress and heading home. Like any other day in a 42 year old’s life, she heads to the bus to transport her home. But, 1955’s buses are different from 2018’s buses. The bus itself is segregated. Rosa heads up to the front of the bus and pays, and then must go around to the back of the bus to get seated in the colored section. Sometimes, people like her are left behind, even after paying.
She has a seat in the first row allowed for colored, the 5th row on the bus. The white only section fills up quickly, and the first row in the colored section is asked to move. It was against the law to stay put, even if there was no other seats in the bus. But, Rosa didn’t move. When the driver, James Blake asked her gruffly to move, she didn’t. She was asked again, but, she didn’t budge. James Blake threatened to call the police, and then eventually, he called them.
The officers Fletcher B. Day and Dempsey W. Mixon came to the scene and escorted Parks off the bus and to jail. News spread quickly after her arrest.
She was bailed out shortly after being arrested by E.D Nixon and Clifford Durr. Rosa Parks went to trial 4 days later. At court, after trial, Parks was found guilty with a $14 dollar fine that she refused to pay. After the arrest, Rosa Parks later said ” “I knew that I would never, never ride another segregated bus to work, even if I had to walk to work” Her small victory was a great part in the Civil Rights Movement.
Early Life and Family Rosa Parks had a great childhood. She began her life on February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. She was named after her grandmother, Rose Edwards. Both of Rosa Parks’s parents were farmers, and held other jobs to support Rosa and her brother, Sylvester. Her mother, Leona, worked as a teacher and her father, James, was a carpenter.
When Rosa was little, her parents split up. Her dad took her brother, and her mother took Rosa. She was a very ill child.Rosa grew up in a segregated town, but all of her family believed strongly in freedom and equality for all. But, just because they believed, doesn’t mean that the world was going to be that way immediately.
So, Rosa attended a segregated school through sixth grade. There she met Miss Sally Hill, her first teacher. Rosa could only go to school 5 months a year because she had to work outside of school. She continued her education, and in 1924, her mother enrolled her into the Montgomery Industrial school for girls. Life still wasn’t all that sweet though.
After school, Rosa had to clean classrooms to help pay for her tuition. Rosa Parks continued to learn through the years, but all of her learning didn’t just come from the classroom. As she grew, her grandparents instilled in her the belief that you should stand up for what you believe in, no matter the consequences. Once she graduated from her former school, Rosa moved up to yet another school. She started to attend high school at Alabama State Teachers College when her grandma got sick. Rosa dropped out of school to take care of her grandma, then her mom when she got sick. In 1932, Rosa Parks met Raymond Parks, a barber.
Together, they began to pave a path towards their later life.Later LifeRosa had a typical and happy life after her involvement in the Bus Boycott. After meeting Raymond Parks at age 19, the two quickly fell in love and married that same year on December 18. Raymond, 10 years older than Rosa continued work as a barber. Rosa Parks decided to go back to high school two years after their marriage to get her high school diploma. Her husband Raymond on the other hand was self-taught.
The pair joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) and NAACP ( National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). In NAACP, Rosa was a very active member that started as a secretary and later as a youth council. After the bus boycott, tragic events followed. Rosa and Raymond were both fired from their jobs and forced to move out of Montgomery with Rosa’s mom to Detroit, Michigan. After their move, thing started to look up for Rosa Parks.
She became secretary and U.S representative in John Conyers Congressional Office. Also, she published her first book of two in 1992 called Rosa Parks: My Story. This all took a dreadful turn when two years later in 1994 on August 30 she was assaulted and robbed by Joseph Skipper in central Detroit. He was found and arrested later but she had to be treated for facial injuries. After her recovery, in 1995 she published a second book called Quiet Strength. Her life kept a downhill spiral after that with both her husband and her brother died in the same year of 1977 both with different types of cancer.In 2002, Rosa started to suffer from progressive dementia and she passed away on October 24, 2005 at the age of 92.
She died in her apartment in Detroit Michigan. She was buried between her husband and mother at Detroit’s Woodlawn Cemetery in the chapel mausoleum which was renamed the Rosa L. Parks Freedom Chapel. 50,000 people viewed her coffin. She was a great leader and contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. Awards Rosa Parks has been awarded many times for her act of bravery during the Montgomery bus boycott back in 1955. She has been remembered by many different people even after her death.
She will never be forgotten. Rosa Parks has been given awards ranging from a medal, to a movie and even statues in the White House! Her first award was the Spingarn Medal from NAACP. It is the highest award any member could receive. She was also awarded the MLK jr award for that same act. On September 9, 1996 president Bill Clinton awarded Rosa with the Presidential Medal of freedom.
This is the highest award from the executive branch. The awards from the White House didn’t stop there! Just one year after the award from the president, she received an award from the legislative branch, the highest award given from them. It was called the Congressional Gold Medal. TIME magazine named Rosa on the 1999 list of the 20 most influential people of the 20th century. In the year 2000, Troy University created the Rosa Parks Museum on the site of her arrest in Montgomery Alabama.
In 2001 in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan a 3.5 acres Rosa Parks circle was created by Maya Lin a artist and architect. A movie called The Rosa Parks movie was made in 2002. February 4, 2013 would have marked Rosa’s 100th birthday, so she was awarded with a stamp for the public to use. The most recent award she received was from Barack Obama in 2014 when he made a statue of Rosa Parks in the Capitol Building. Those are Rosa Parks’ many awards.
Rosa Parks’ Legacy When you looked at Rosa Parks, through pictures or in real life, you probably don’t see her as the type of person that would go to jail, or even push the laws to their limit. Rosa Parks left a world-altering legacy behind. Our world used to be segregated. People wouldn’t even sit in the same section on a bus together. There were different water fountains, public pools and schools for white people and black people. Our world is now different because of Rosa Parks. She protested this unfairness by what became the great Montgomery bus boycott. Some critics of Rosa Parks say that her feet hurt so she didn’t want to stand up.
They are wrong. She was part of a group of women activists that were at local colleges who were organizing to take on segregated buses for the purpose of ending segregation. Her story tells us that we don’t have to be important, popular or loud to make a difference in the world. She inspired many people hiding in the shadows afraid of the consequences of taking a stand. Her bus boycott spiraled from just that, to a huge protest helping to end segregation. That is the inspiring legacy one women left for the world. All in all, Rosa Parks helped change the world. She left an amazing legacy behind.
Today, I challenge YOU to make a difference in our world, and leave a inspiring legacy behind. Will you?