3°A Marilyn Jazmín Parea Ontiveros
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist whom the U.S. Congress dubbed the "Mother of the Modern Day civil rights movement.
Mrs. Parks is oneof the two individuals most often associated with the Civil Rights Movement in the South during the 1960s, along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. She is famous for her refusal on December 1, 1955 to obey bus driver James Blake's demand that she give up her seat to a white passenger. Her subsequent arrest and trial for this act of civil disobedience triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott, one ofthe largest and most successful mass movements against racial segregation racial in history, and launched Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the organizers of the boycott, to the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement. Her role in American history earned her an iconic status in American culture, and her actions have left an enduring legacy for civil rights movements around the world. Mrs. Parksdetermined to fight for equality and resolution of oppression through peaceful, nonviolent, resistance. She understood that the necessity of maintaining her dignity through her public ordeals was crucial, as her stance was not for herself alone but on behalf of her entire race.
Certainly her act of resistance set in motion an irreversible cycle of change that would eventually secure equal treatmentunder the law for all African-Americans. Wrote Richet L. Haywood in Jet Magazine:
"For those who lived through the unsettling 1950s and 1960s and joined the civil rights struggle, the soft-spoken Rosa Parks was more, much more than the woman who refused to give up her bus seat to a White man in Montgomery, Alabama. Hers was an act that forever changed White America's view of Black people, andforever changed America itself."
In 1932, Rosa married Raymond Parks, a barber from Montgomery, at her mother's house. Raymond was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and at the time was collecting money to support the Scottsboro Boys, a group of black men falsely accused of raping two white women. After her marriage, Rosa took a number ofjobs, ranging from domestic worker to hospital aide. At her husband's urging, she finished her high school studies in 1933, at a time when less than seven percent of African-Americans had a high school diploma.
In December 1943, Parks became active in the Civil Rights Movement, joining the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, and was elected volunteer secretary to its president, Edgar Nixon. She wouldcontinue as secretary until 1957. In the 1940s, Parks and her husband were also members of the Voters' League. Sometime soon after 1944, she held a job briefly at Maxwell Air Force Base, where federal rules prohibited racial segregation, commuting on an integrated trolley. Mrs. Parks later stated, "You might just say Maxwell opened my eyes up."
She also worked as a housekeeper and seamstress for awhite couple, Clifford and Virginia Dorr. In the summer of 1955, the politically liberal Durres became her friends, and encouraged Parks to attend, eventually helping to sponsor her at the Highlander Folk School, an education center for workers' rights and racial equality in Mont eagle, Tennessee. Highlander was known throughout the South as a radical educational center planning methods thatwould see the total desegregation of the South. While at the school, Rosa determined to become an active participant in other attempts to break down the barriers of segregation. (The New Press, 2005, 17).
Bus protest and arrest
In Montgomery, public buses were divided into two sections, one at the front for Caucasian Americans, meant for whites only. From five to ten rows back the section for...