“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will refuse to do something that I can do.” -Helen Keller. December 1st , 1955 is dated by many historians as the beginning of the modern civil rights movement in the United States. It was a lonely act of defiance that began a movement that ended legal segregation in America. This act was made by the one, and only Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks is as one of the greatest women in history. Without her bravery, determination, and courageous acts during the terrible time of discrimination against the African-American race, our society would be distraught. Rosa's Parks made a mark on the history of the United States, that will never fade or be forgotten.
Rosa Parks was born as, Rosa Louise McCauley, on February 4th 1913 in Tuskegee Alabama. Her father, James McCauley was a carpenter, and her mother, Leona McCauley was a teacher. She grew up with her younger brother, Sylvester Parks. At age two Rosa moved to her grandparents farm in Pine Level Alabama, with her mother, and brother. Rosa's father was no longer present in her life. Her entire childhood was spent living on that farm. During her younger years Rosa was always sick, as a result of this, she never really grew much. Having grown up in Montgomery, Rosa developed strong roots in the African Methodist Episcopal Church early on. She did not attend school until she was eleven years old, prior to attending school, her mother, Leona, home schooled her. Rosa took various vocation and academic courses at the Industrial School for Girls in Montgomery. The school's philosophy of self worth was consistent with her mother's advice to “take advantage of the opportunity, no matter what they were.” (http://www.achievement.org/autodo/printmaker/parObio) She began laboratory school as a secondary education, but never completed it because she was forced to drop out to take care of her sick grandmother. (http://rosa.parks.facts.com)
Rosa's childhood was very much influenced by the Jim Crow laws of the South. The Jim Crow Laws segregated the blacks from whites, created by the Democratic Party's white remembers in the Southern states from 1876 to 1963. Many barriers were created by these laws such as blacks ability to vote, banning interracial marriage, and have racially segregated school systems. These policies created strong political tension between the North and South. Public transportation followed this line of segregation as well. This may explain Rosa's determination in her bus incident later on in her life. Rosa never understood exactly why the people of her color were treated so unfairly. This angered her. She wanted to do so much to change, but being at a young age there wasn't much she could do; but she defiantly had ideas stewing in her young, determined brain. In her autobiography Rosa wrote about how segregation did recall a memory of her grandfather standing at the front door with a loaded shot gun as the Klu Klux Klan marched down the street. This one memory, stood out from the others. It frightened her, but opened her eyes to the atrocious reality of the prejudices against her race in the American culture. (http://rosa.parks.facts.com)
Once Rosa's grandmother began to become healthy again, Rosa did not have to take care of her any longer. One of Rosa's friends introduced her to Raymond Parks, she had no love interest in him at first, but Raymond's charm eventually won her over. Part of what attracted Rosa to Raymond was he had the same mindset on segregation. Raymond was an activist, like Rosa, he was also a member of the Nation Association for the advancement of Colored People (NAACP). It was association that helped hire lawyers and fight charges brought against black people in the court system. Along with Rosa, he was willing to dedicate his life to improving the lifestyle for the African-American race....
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