A hero is a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Despite what some may argue, Rosa Parks is a perfect example of a Civil rights hero. This can be seen not only through the famous Montgomery Bus ride, but also through other examples where she showed courage, made achievements, or proved herself to have noble qualities.1 These include: Sparking the Montgomery bus boycott, helping the formation of the MIA, Being directly connected to the Browder versus Gayle lawsuit, Working with Martin Luther King, Featuring on International news, Writing her Autobiography and gaining honors and Awards.
In the segregated Montgomery of Dec. 1, 1955, the first 10 rows of a bus where reserved for white riders. As the bus went along its route, more people got on, and the white section of the bus filled up. When another white man boarded, the driver ordered Parks and three blacks seated next to her to move. Parks refused and was arrested. This act of individual resistance, especially in a time where there was lynching for blacks who stepped out of line was rare, especially for a woman. Although it seems insignificant, Parks’ resistance on Dec. 1, 1955 changed the course of history and led to her other major accomplishments, eventually making her an American Hero.2
Sparked by the arrest of Rosa Parks on 1 December 1955, the Montgomery bus boycott was a 13-month mass protest that ended with the U.S.3 Supreme Court ruling that segregation on public buses is unconstitutional. It started off, with a one day boycott, where people where asked to stay off the buses. However, On 5 December, 90 percent of Montgomery’s black citizens stayed off the buses. That afternoon, the city’s ministers and leaders met to discuss the possibility of extending the boycott into a long-term campaign. During this meeting the MIA was formed. 3 The Montgomery Improvement Association’s (MIA) role was to oversee the continuation and maintenance of the boycott. The organization’s overall mission, extended beyond the boycott campaign, as it sought to "improve the general status of Montgomery, to improve race relations, and to uplift the general tenor of the community." 1
King was elected president of the assosiation shortly after the formation. Parks recalled: ‘‘The advantage of having Dr. King as president was that he was so new to Montgomery and to civil rights work that he hadn’t been there long enough to make any strong friends or enemies’’ 4 The bus boycott demonstrated the potential for nonviolent mass protest to successfully challenge racial segregation and served as an example for other southern campaigns that followed. In Stride Toward Freedom, King’s 1958 memoir of the boycott, he declared the real meaning of the Montgomery bus boycott to be the power of a growing self-respect to animate the struggle for civil rights. 4 That evening, at a mass meeting at Holt Street Baptist Church, the MIA voted to continue the boycott. King spoke to several thousand people at the meeting: ‘‘I want it to be known that we’re going to work with grim and bold determination to gain justice on the buses in this city. And we are not wrong.… If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. If we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong’’ 5On the 8th of December, After unsuccessful talks with city commissioners and bus company officials the MIA issued a formal list of demands: courteous treatment by bus operators; first-come, first-served seating for all, with blacks seating from the rear and whites from the front; and black bus operators on predominately black routes. The demands were not met, and Montgomery’s black residents stayed off the buses through 1956, despite efforts by city officials and white citizens to defeat the boycott.3
Although Rosa Parks was not the leader of the MIA, or the leader of the boycott,...