November 13, 2014
Throughout history the fight against racial injustice has been an on going issue. Many people took part in the fight for racial equality, some had positive effects and some had negative effects. One person who had many positive effects was Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks influenced the Montgomery Boycott that eventually led to the lifting of segregated seating laws for public transportation.
Rosa Louise McCauley was born on February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. She attended local schools until the age of eleven where she then attended the Industrial School for Girls in Montgomery. Years later she ceased to attend school in order to take care of her grandmother and then her mother. In 1932 she married a man named Raymond Parks, a barber from Montgomery. After she married Raymond she finished high school and obtained her diploma.
Rosa had been exposed to racism at a very young age. She recalls seeing the Ku Klux Klan marching down her street while her father stood outside with a shotgun. As a young girl, she never understood why African-American people were mistreated, but she never felt good about that situation. She grew up feeling very strongly about the racial injustices that were occurring during that time. Even her husband, Raymond, was an active member of the NAACP. Rosa eventually became a supporter and helped with fundraisers and other initiatives.
Rosa Parks is best known for telling a white passenger “No” when asked to give up her seat on the bus, which ignited the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1956. On December 1,1955 Rosa Parks boarded a bus after a long day of work as a seamstress at a Montgomery department store. It was a common understanding that as the busses filled up with more white passengers, the African-American passengers had to give up their seats and stand in the back of the bus. Bus drivers had the authority to change the position of the sign separating the whites and blacks to accommodate the needs of the white people.
As the bus filled up, the bus driver noticed that there were a few white passengers that were left standing. He proceeded to move the sign back so that the passengers were able to have a seat. He asked four passengers to move back. Three of the passengers agreed but the fourth, being Rosa Parks refused to move. When asked why she wouldn’t stand up, Rosa replied by saying “I don't think I should have to stand up" (Rosa Louise McCauley Parks). The bus driver called the police and immediately had her arrested. Parks violated chapter 6 section 11 of the Montgomery City Code. Her trial lasted approximately 30 minutes and she was fined 14 dollars.
Many activists were outraged by the arrest of Rosa Parks. E.D Nixon and Clifford Durr bailed Parks out the night of her arrest. That evening E.D. Nixon consulted with Jo Ann Robinson, a professor at Alabama State College, about what happened to Rosa Parks. Robinson, being a member of the Women’s Political Council, informed her fellow members and handed out 35,000 handbills announcing the bus boycott. The Women’s Political Council was the first group to officially support and endorse the boycott. The boycott lasted for 381. Protestors walked everywhere, facing the elements just to gain equality.
The boycott led to the removal of segregation laws on public transportation. “On 5 June 1956, the federal district court ruled in Browder v. Gayle that bus segregation was unconstitutional, and in November 1956 the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed Browder v. Gayle and struck down laws requiring segregated seating on public buses” (Montgomery Bus Boycott). From then on all busses were free from segregation, taking one step closer to racial equality in the whole country.
During the Montgomery Bus Strike, Rosa Parks worked very closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was so outraged by her mistreatment that he personally took part in the strike. This put Dr. King in the spot...
Cited: "Rosa Louise McCauley Parks." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 09 Nov. 2014.
"Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-1956)." Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-1956). Martin Luther King, Jr., Research & Education Institute, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2014.
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