Racism and prejudice have been dominant issues in the United States for many years. People, particularly African Americans, have been denied basic human rights such as getting a fair trial, eating in a certain restaurant, or sitting in certain seats of public buses. However, in 1955 a woman named Rosa Parks took a stand, or more correctly took a seat, on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She refused to give her seat to a white man and was arrested for not doing so. She was weary of the discrimination she faced due to the Jim Crow laws, which were laws were intended to prohibit black Americans from mixing with white Americans. Also, due to the Jim Crow laws, blacks were required to give their seats to white passengers if there were no more empty seats. This is exactly what happened on December 1, 1955……
On her way home from work, Rosa Parks refused to give her seat to a white man and was shortly arrested. Even though she knew what the consequences were for refusing to leave her seat, she decided to take a stand against a wrong that was the norm in society. She knew that she would be arrested, yet she decided that she would try to make a change. Although her arrest would seem like she lost her battle, what followed would be her victory.
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Rosa Parks’ stand was so significant that she is called the mother of the civil rights movement. Her arrest served as a catalyst for a massive boycott for public busses. Led by Martin Luther King, for 381 days, African Americans carpooled, walked, or found other ways of transportation. Despite the harassment everyone involved in the movement faced, the boycott continued and was extremely successful. The bus company suffered from the loss of fares, but did not desegregate its busses. In 1965, the case was brought to court, and segregation of busses was ruled unconstitutional, the busses were officially desegregated on December 21, 1956.
The movement Rosa Parks started climaxed with the Civil Rights act of 1964 and the Voting Rights act of 1965, which made Rosa a hero. Rosa Parks worked for the equality of all people. She was elected secretary of the Montgomery branch of the National Advancement of Colored People, unsuccessfully attempted to vote many times to prove her point of discrimination, and had numerous encounters with bus drivers who discriminated against blacks. She received many tributes and awards, such as the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal in 1970 and the Martin Luther King Jr. Award in 1980. Rosa Parks’ stand is significant to our society because she showed us that one person can help so many other people by standing up for what they believe in.
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