Hubert Humphrey once stated, “When we say, ‘One nation under God, with liberty and justice for all,’ we are talking about all people. We either ought to believe it or quit saying it” (http://www.brainyquotes.com). During the 1960’s, a great number of people did, in fact, begin to believe it. Rosa Parks, the woman who earned the title “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement” decided on December 1st, 1955, to take a stand, or better yet a sit, against segregation. These years were a time of great change for America. The country was literally redefined as people from all walks of life fought to uphold their standards on what they believed a true democracy is made of; equal rights for all races, freedom of speech, and the right to stay out of wars in which they felt they did not belong. However, it is to be expected that in attempting to change a nation one will inevitably face opposition. Rosa Louise McCauley entered this world on February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama to James and Leona McCauley. Both of Rosa’s parents grew up in a time before slavery was banished from the United States. They suffered a difficult childhood, and after emancipation the conditions for blacks were not much better. Rosa's mother was a schoolteacher and her father a farmer. In 1915 her parents separated, and Rosa’s mother moved her and her younger brother to Montgomery, Alabama to live with their grandmother.(Schraff 2008) During this time period the southern states were extremely segregated, and the Ku Klux Klan kept very involved where Rosa and her family now
lived.(Schraff 2008 Page 7) Rosa's mother was a very important role model for her and her brother. Because their mother was a schoolteacher, she home schooled Rosa until the age of eleven. It was at this age when she experienced first hand hatred and ignorance of the South when she and her cousin entered a store and the proprietor informed her black children could not sit at the counter and drink sodas, but instead eat an ice cream cone outside the store.(Schraff 2008 Page 8) Even though this was legal at the time, Rosa knew it was wrong. This incident stayed with her all of her life. After she was eleven, Rosa attended the all-black school of Montgomery Industrial School for Girls where she cleaned two classrooms every day in order to pay her tuition.(Schraff 2008 Page 9) When finished attending the school for girls, she enrolled at Booker T. Washington High School, another black school, until the age of 15. While she was attending high school, her mother had become so ill she had to quit. After quitting school, she got a job as a house servant and began sending money back to her family. When Rosa McCauley was 20 years old she met and married a barber by the name of Mr. Raymond Parks. Rosa began to sew and take on several seamstress jobs, and also housekeeping jobs. Although Raymond received very little proper education, he was very supportive of his wife's wishes to return to school and receive her High School diploma. Rosa indeed did return to school and earned her diploma in 1932 .(Schraff 2008) Rosa grew up under a strict racist law system called the Jim Crow Law. The Jim Crow law system was adopted in 1875. This law was named after a minstrel show character, who was an old, crippled, black slave who embodied a negative stereotype for African Americans. It was the official system of racial segregation that spread across the
south after the Civil War. Segregation was the separation of the races in every sphere of life to achieve white supremacy. African Americans and whites were legally separated on streetcars, trains, steamboats, and every other form of public transportation, as well as schools, hospitals, restaurants, hotels and even drinking fountains. These laws put "black" and "white" signs on every public facility. These signs, historians say, were public symbols and constant reminders of black...