Why Did the Simple Actions of One Lady in 1955 Prove to Be so Significant in Transforming the Fortunes of Black People in Their Campaign for Civil Rights in America in 1950s?

Topics: Martin Luther King, Jr., African American, Rosa Parks Pages: 4 (1418 words) Published: February 24, 2013
Why did the simple actions of one lady in 1955 prove to be so significant in transforming the fortunes of black people in their campaign for civil rights in America in 1950s? Rosa Parks is known as “the first lady of civil rights", and "the mother of the freedom movement,” due to one ‘simple action.’ One must question as to why Parks’ case had a greater impact, more publicity and ‘significance’ even though others i.e. Claudette Colvin and Homer Plessy, have also taken part in similar civil disobedience. 1865 saw the end of the civil war; the North defeated the confederacy, therefore eradicating slavery. Albeit this meant greater opportunities for African Americans, it meant that the white community would take extra measures to enforce their superiority. The 14th Amendment ensured that ‘all people (including blacks) were to receive citizenship and equal protection under the laws,’ yet the south were adamant that this did not occur. Henceforth, in 1877 Jim Crow was introduced, allowing African Americans access to all facilities that are inferior and inadequate for the white community. Rosa Parks is famously known for her ‘simple’ act of refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. This occurred on December 1st 1955 – a year after the Brown vs. Topeka board of education. This is important as, already, the dismantling of the Jim Crow laws had already taken place. The Brown vs. Topeka board of education in 1954 led to ruling of segregation as unconstitutional. Therefore, this set a precedent as to what African Americans could achieve and meant that Rosa Parks had a right to stay seated, as ‘separate but equal’ was not an excuse anymore. ‘Simple’ is defined as ‘not difficult, easy, mentally weak,’ thus in certain aspects Rosa Parks’ actions were simple, as she only stayed seated. She did not provoke an attack and she was modest in regards to her actions thus why her actions are deemed as ‘simple.’ Claudette Colvin however, did the same ‘simple action,’ nine...
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