By: Kaycee Long & Liliana Mohamed
Rosa Parks was born on February 4th, 1913 during a time where racism and segregation were very prominent in the culture. While growing up, she lived in Pine Level, Alabama and later lived in Montgomery, Alabama. Some challenges Rosa faced were racial slurs, unfairness, and people constantly looking down at her and separating her. One day, later on in her life, after a tiring day at work (she was a seamstress), she boarded the Cleveland Avenue Bus and sat in the “colored” rows of seats on the bus. As the bus continued on its route, it began to fill with white passengers, and eventually the driver noticed that many of those white passengers were standing up. Therefore, the driver stopped the bus and asked four black people to give up their seats. The problem she faced was the fact that she was expected to give up her seat and stand in the back of the bus, but she said “no” and would not rise from her seat and stand. This problem affected her and her family in large ways. They were looked at as a threat and disobedient citizens by the police.
Three fellow passengers boarded the Cleveland Avenue Bus on December 1, 1955 obeyed the bus driver and stood up, but Rosa was reluctant refused to give hers up. Rosa Parks refused to allow someone take her seat just because the color of their skin seemed to be "superior" to her own. She stated that she wasn't physically tired, but just tired of giving in. Her motivation was that she hated segregation laws and has been fighting for civil rights for more than 10 years before this event. Rosa Parks sacrificed her mode of transporting because her and many other African Americans went on a bus boycott called the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She also sacrificed herself in this selfless act; she didn't know the exact punishment she would have been given, but she fought. And she was fighting for not just herself, but for every other “colored person”. The act committed by Rosa Parks seemed very simple. She denied the driver's request of getting up and said the two letter word: "no". However, it took great bravery and showed her amazing political consciousness. We know for sure that because of these actions many lives have been bettered. Since she refused to give up her seat, she was arrested at the scene of the bus ride. She was then taken to police headquarters where she was fortunately released on bail. Her refusal launched a nationwide fight to end segregation!
This story of Rosa Parks has definitely inspired us to fight for what we believe in and as her quote said if you believe something is right then it can't be wrong to fight for it. It has also made us think of being nicer to people and not treating people differently based on our stereotypes of them. This has encouraged us to face the challenges of not leaving people out and not letting people feel inferior to us because we are all children of God and special in our own way no matter how differently we look or act. In conclusion, we've learned to always stand up for what you believe in even if it means facing trials along the way.
Just think about how small the action she did was and the big results she got. It just shows how every aspect of your life (even the itsy bitsy ones) can influence a big part of yours and someone else's life. Rosa Parks won the the Spingarn Medal, the prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (click the button above to watch a short clip of President Bill Clinton giving Rosa this award), the Congressional Gold Medal, and in 1999, TIME magazine named Rosa Parks on its list of "The 20 most influential People of the 20th Century."
Author: Biography.com Editors
Author: History.com Staff
Author: American Academy of Achievement Staff