Archive for November, 2017

I Love Lucy

by admin - November 29th, 2017

By Rosemarie Murray

When people think of the 1950’s, people’s minds jump to Rock n Roll and Elvis, drive-ins, Levittowns, and more. Another thing that many people mention that still has an effect on society today as seen through its syndication and reruns is the show I Love Lucy. The unconventional style of I Love Lucy differed from other T.V. shows at the time caused it to have a long-lasting grip on society.

Lucy and Ricky

Audiences loved the show so much because it was so different from other T.V. shows from the decade. Instead of a T.V. centered around a typical, happy-go-lucky family like other situational comedies in the 1950’s, I Love Lucy from production to air. Actress Lucille Ball (who played Lucy) and her husband, Desi Arnaz (who starred as Ricky), were not afraid to tackle big topics and be different than their predecessors. For their role behind the scenes, “Lucy and Desi’s instincts for what would work on the show were unerring, although often contrary to the desires of advertisers and television executives” (235, Dunar). Ball and Arnaz were instrumental to the implentinting differences into the show, including her “demand that Arnaz play her husband on the show, and the couple’s insistence that Lucy’s pregnancy be treated openly,” (263, Dunar). And though producers were at first hesitant, they gave in and Ball and Desi’s demands were met with “warm responses from audiences . . .” (263, Dunar).

It makes sense why television executives and people from behind the scenes would be at first scared of the repercussions of I Love Lucy. The premise of the show was unlike what any had seen before. The plot was about a wife, Lucy, and her Cuban husband, Ricky, as they navigated through married life in New York city. First, it was different for the time period to have her husband be Cuban and not the stereotypical white, American male. In addition, Lucy was different from other t.v. women in that she was not the perfect housewife: Lucy wanted out of the house and to be a star, and she was not content with staying home. Also, the fact that I Love Lucy showed Ball’s real-life pregnancy and incorporated it into the t.v. show was unprecedented in t.v. history (Bor). A pregnant woman had been shown very scarcely on television before, so I Love Lucy broke ground normalizing women culture and more.

I Love Lucy set the tone for t.v. show comedies for years to come. Some of the best sit-coms and other T.V. comedies to date have been similar to I Love Lucy in that they are different and unconventional. From Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which centered around an affluent black family taking in their delinquent nephew to raise, to Modern Family, a show about the inner workings of a “modern” family that among of variety of other things includes a young stepmother married to a much older man and a gay couple raising a child. I Love Lucy, among other things, normalized family culture and being different, and set a new precedent for doing so that T.V. shows would follow for years to come.

Works Cited

“20 Things You Might Not Have Known About I Love Lucy.” Mental Floss, 15 Oct. 2017,

Bor, Stephanie E. “Lucy’s Two Babies: Framing the First Televised Depiction of Pregnancy.” Serial Soluations, Media History, 2013.

Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. Syracuse University Press, 2006

Montgomery Bus Boycott

by admin - November 27th, 2017

By Jess Fournier

This image shows Rosa Parks on a bus in Montgomery on the day they were no longer segregated. Sitting behind her is a UPI reporter named Nicholas C. Criss, who was reporting on the major event.

The bus boycott that took place in Montgomery, Alabama is a very important and influential event of the civil rights movement. During this protest, African Americans refused to use the buses as transportation because of the segregated seating that required people of color to sit in the back, and whites to sit in the front. This protest was sparked by the arrest of Rosa Parks when she refused to give up her seat to a white person. Rosa Parks is considered to be “widely respected, active in the church and in volunteer activities, Parks was an ideal person to serve as a rallying point for a protest” (Dunar 214). Through African American churches and headlines of newspapers in Montgomery, the word quickly got out about the boycott. This website explains that about 40,000 African American riders ditched the buses on December 5, 1955 and began walking, no matter how far away their destination was. There also was carpools and taxis made available to help keep the boycott a success. That same day, Martin Luther King Jr. was elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), and it was decided that they continue on with the boycott. They would not stop until these following conditions were met: “courteous treatment on the buses, black bus drivers on routes that served the black community, and first come, first served seating on the bus. In the making last demand, they also agreed that African Americans would first take seats in the back of the bus, and move forward as the bus filled” (Dunar 216). Which was at first a thriving company, the buses in Montgomery lost 750,000 dollars in fares due to this protest. Bus officials would say, “unless the fares were doubled, ‘we just can’t live.’ City commissioners agreed, and fares were increased from ten to fifteen cents. Transfers, formerly free, would now carry a five-cent charge, and the fare for school children increased from five to eight cents” (McGhee). The company also had problems with communication when attempting to get riders back on the buses. Many of the drivers often said their “hands were tied”, considering they had no power over the city and state laws that implemented segregation onto their buses, making it impossible to come up with a feasible solution. In addition to the bus companies, the shopping centers downtown suffered as well since this large part of the town’s population no longer had easy transportation to get there to shop. Finally, on Monday, April 24, 1956, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that segregation of races on buses is unconstitutional, forcing the buses to discontinue their practice of segregation. Despite this decision, the bus lines still continued to struggle with new troubles. For example, “A few days after the buses were integrated, a fifteen-year-old black girl was beaten at a bus stop by a group of white males. Also in the days immediately following, five buses were fired upon by whites and at least one person was injured” (McGhee). Though the boycott had ended, its impacts were long lasting on the civil rights movement.

Works Cited

Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. Syracuse University Press, 2006. Staff. “Montgomery Bus Boycott.”, A&E Television Networks, 2010,

McGhee, Felicia. “The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Fall of the Montgomery City Lines.” Alabama Review 68.3 (2015): 251-68. ProQuest. Web. 24 Nov. 2017


by admin - November 20th, 2017

By Sam Maglione

McCarthyism was named after Joseph McCarthy. Joseph McCarthy was a Republican senator. During the 1950s, McCarthy used tactics against those whom he believed to be Communists. He was becoming a person that America would fear. “However, with a public that followed newspapers carefully, and the exposure that a national media gave him, McCarthy was able to bluff and bully his way to becoming the most feared man in America for a few years” (Encyclopedia of…). Not only was McCarthy feared by the public but he was also feared by other politicians. They feared being labeled a communist by him. “In February 1950, appearing at the Ohio County Women’s Republican Club in Wheeling, West Virginia, McCarthy gave a speech that propelled him into the national spotlight. Waving a piece of paper in the air, he declared that he had a list of 205 known members of the Communist Party who were ‘working and shaping policy’ in the State Department” (Joseph R. McCarthy).

A young Joseph McCarthy

McCarthy had ruined a lot of lives. It was ruining the careers of people and families and friendships. Many Americans were accused of being a communist during this era. They then went through many investigations. Although McCarthy was accusing all of these people of being communists, he had little to no proof of any of this. Joseph McCarthy spent almost five years accusing people of being communists. “Sylvia Jarrico, former wife of the blacklisted Paul Jarrico, who was fired from her job as an editor with Hollywood Quarterly because she refused to sign the University of California loyalty oath, says simply, ‘We lived with the constant sense of being hunted.’” (Naming Names…).

During McCarthyism, people were considered guilty if they were even associated with people who were communists. But a similar things is going on today as well with Donald Trump and the Russians. If anyone in his campaign ever met with or spoke to a Russian, some people are saying that he is guilty of collusion. Even if there is no evidence of any wrongdoing. They are presumed to be guilty just because of association. There was no crime actually committed or proven. This is the same thing that was happening with McCarthyism.

In the 1950s, the whole idea of McCarthyism had worked because it had played off of people’s fear. This was during a time when Americans were afraid of Russia and the nuclear war. So even though there was little evidence to prove who were communists and who weren’t communists, when someone accused you of working with the Russians, you were presumed to be guilty because people were scared and they would rather have been safe rather than sorry.

Works Cited

Navasky, Victor. “Naming Names: The Social Costs of McCarthyism.” Naming Names: The Social Costs of McCarthyism–by Victor Navasky, Staff. “Joseph R. McCarthy.”, A&E Television Networks, 2009,

Stentiford, Barry. “McCarthyism.” Encyclopedia of Chinese-American Relations, edited by Yuwu Song, McFarland, 1st edition, 2009. Credo Reference, Accessed 17 Nov 2017.

What Peyton Place Did

by admin - November 20th, 2017

By Jenna Goodreau

In Ardis Cameron’s 1999 introduction to Grace Metalious’ best selling novel,

The original cover of Peyton Place by Grace Metalious

Peyton Place, she discusses how controversial the novel was at the time of it’s release. Cameron described Peyton Place as “the overt pleasure of millions of Americans who saw in the novel scenes from their own lives as well as a graphic story against which to measure them” (page ix). Peyton Place, much like Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (2011), was the kind of novel that people could not stop reading, but would keep hidden and not read in front of other people. The main reason for this secrecy is that the novel included many scandals like teenage pregnancy, abortion, suicide and rape that were rarely, if ever, mentioned in fiction at the time. One source, talking about Peyton Place, claims that “The name itself is synonymous with deceit and vice” (Clark).

Metalious lived in a small New Hampshire town, much like the one she wrote about. Her novel challenged the perception that most people had of New England towns at the time. Although they were viewed as perfect and ideal places to live, they had their scandals even if they were not talked about. The novel opened people’s eyes to the fact that incest, rape, abortion, etc. could be happening within their own communities and they are problems that should be addressed. However, many critics at the time bashed on the novel, calling it “degrading, disgusting, sordid, lurid and stinking garbage” (Sentinel Source). This is ironic, considering how popular the novel was. The novel, despite its success, was also banned from many libraries around the country, because people were “disturbed” by the realities that were brought to light when they read the book.

Peyton Place was one of the most popular, if not the most popular, novel of the 1950s. In her introduction, Cameron says that “In an age when the average first novel sold two thousand copies, Peyton Place sold sixty thousand within the first ten days of its official release” (page vii). About one in every twenty-nine Americans owned the novel and it was #1 on the New York Times best-seller list. The novel was also turned into a television series, it began in 1964 and ended about 5 years later. It was reported that the show had “a viewing population of 60 million, or one in three Americans” (Cameron page xvi). There was also a film created based on the novel, and it came out in 1957. People today are still reading the book, and it can tell us a lot about how opinions on “scandals” have changed. Today, reading about incest, suicide and abortion is less shocking, since they are very talked about topics in our society, and they occur all the time. It will be interesting to see how people in the future view books that we find scandalous today.


Metalious, Grace. Peyton Place; with a new introduction by Ardis Cameron.
Lebanon: Northeastern University Press, 1999. Print.

Richardson, Rachel. “‘Peyton Place’ Shockingly Revealed Life, by Rachel Richardson.”, 23 May 2004. Web.

Randall Clark. “Peyton Place.” St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, Gale, 2013. U.S. History in Context, Web.

“Biography.” IMDb,,

Women & Conformity in the Fifties

by admin - November 20th, 2017

By Sophia Kontoes

The word conformity and the decade of the 1950s, go hand in hand. Although, in many ways, the decade was a period of traditional conformity, where men and women observed strict gender roles, but there were also many changes being made. These change began from the displeasure women had about their status in society. Conformity in the 1950s was common, everyone followed what the norms being reinforced by pop culture and the media. The norms consisted of the men being breadwinners, controlling the household and bringing in all the money. For women that meant their place remained in the home to do the cooking, cleaning, and raising of children.

Stereotypical woman doing chores in the 1950s

After the United States had overcome the desolation of World War II and the Great Depression, many americans desired to rebuild the American society to its affluent manner. Even though women were expected to be wives and mothers, they made up a lot of the postwar labor force. Because so many males were drafted into the war, women had taken their spots, but upon their return many of them were replaced. Most women want to keep their jobs, which like I mentioned, is why they made up one third of the peacetime workforce.

Post-war prosperity was skyrocketing, leading many Americans to the “American dream,” especially women. After war, America was going through a baby boom. Even throughout that time period, “approximately forty percent of women with young children, and at least half of women with older children, chose to remain in the workforce.” (Khan Academy) The proportion of women in the labor force as a percentage of women of working age (15-64) increased from 45.9% in 1955 to 51% in 1965. Despite the increase in labor, women were still only working as “secondary workers.”

Pop culture had a lot to do with conformity in the 1950s, social standards set the pace for the stereotypical American family. I Love Lucy, was one of the shows that set the tone for the roles of women in the home. “Lucille Ball’s zany I Love Lucy, which aired from 1951 to 1957, became the greatest television hit of the fifties.” (Dunar 235) Going for job opportunities or interests that took place outside the household never went her way. But her doing that, showed that women were unhappy with where they were at. Lucille Ball was a role model to women because even though her character was a stereotypical housewife, in reality she was a very successful actress.

The post-war advancements women made ultimately led to the 1960s Feminist Activities. “1960s feminists inspired political action and changed many women’s lives.” (Napikoski) All of what happened in the sixties for women branched from the fifties, and for that we can thank fifties women.

Works Cited

Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. N.p.: Syracuse UP, 2006. Print

Napikoski, Linda. “1960s Feminism: Examples of Activities of the Movement.” ThoughtCo,

“Women in the 1950s.” Khan Academy, College Board,

Dr. Spock and his Common Sense

by admin - November 20th, 2017

By Meagan Sebastiao

Doctor Benjamin McLane Spock was born on May 2, 1903 in New Haven, Connecticut. He was born into a family with strict parents and five younger siblings. Growing up, his parents did not allow he or his siblings to eat certain foods, had to be in bed no later than 6:45 P.M., and the children ate separately from the parents. Spock attended the notorious Yale University as an architecture major, but realized two years later that his true calling was medicine. At the 1924 Olympics in Paris, France the Yale rowing team that Dr. Spock was on took home the gold medal. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1925, he attended Yale Medical School for two years and graduated from Columbia University’s College of Physicians of Surgeons at the top of his graduating class.

Spock’s interest in children did not develop until after he completed his residencies, opened his own private practice which was deemed unsuccessful because he opened it in 1933 during the Great Depression, and he began to continue his research at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. His main goal here after all of the work he put in was to understand why children behave the way they do and what correlation parents to the behavior of their children. Dr. Benjamin Spock began writing his book, Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, while enlisted in war efforts serving as a U.S. Naval Reserve psychiatrist in the Medical Corps. He published the first edition in 1945, one year after joining the war. He was discharged one year later, just in time for the sales and popularity of his book and methods to skyrocket. This book became “…the most widely selling book of the fifties” (Dunar, Andrew J.).

Since the time of the publication to the death of Benjamin Spock in 1998, the book has sold over 50 million copies and is written and translated in 42 different languages. This proves to be a very commonly read and used book during this time, and is known worldwide. No matter the different beliefs of the readers, this book was beneficial to the essentials and necessities of having a baby and taking care of he or she. Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care was written just in time for the baby boom as there were many new mothers who thought of Dr. Spock’s book as a how-to-raise-a-child guide. One of the main goals he had in writing his book was to ask and convince parents to trust their instincts and to follow their common sense. He wanted to reject, “stern rules and regulations, and urged parents to talk to and play with their babies more,” (“Benjamin Spock”).

Dr. Benjamin Spock’s beliefs expressed in his book were often viewed as controversial because of how relaxed his advice to parents was. He told mothers, “that parents needed to follow the cues of their babies,” (“Spock at 65: Five Ideas That Changed American Parenting.”). Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care has been through eight revisions in order to cover new ideals and values as they change and progress in society and history. He has revised his book to include answers to popularly asked questions and to accompany different family situations such as teenage pregnancy, television watching in infants and toddlers, divorce of families, gay and lesbian marriage and parents, the father’s role in the mother’s pregnancy, sexism, acknowledging that the father’s role is equally as important as the mother’s, and more. Today, in the book’s eighth edition, newly titled Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care addresses all of these topics and more, and continues to help families across the world.

Works Cited
“Benjamin Spock.” Newsmakers, Gale, 1998. U.S. History in Context, Accessed 14 Nov. 2017.

Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. Syracuse University Press, 2006.

Hughes, Ivy. “Profiles in Greatness: Dr. Benjamin Spock.” SUCCESS Magazine, 22 Sept. 2015,

“Spock at 65: Five Ideas That Changed American Parenting.” Time, 14 July 2011,

1950s Food Trends

by admin - November 20th, 2017

By Matas Buivydas

The change in consumption of food over many years has drastically impacted the health of the U.S population, as well as changed the culture of America. There is a possibility that the consumption factor is due to the fluctuation in price level of food. There are many recent studies that have showcased the decrease in real food prices over time, which is a possible main contributor for the rise in obesity. Prices and the value of money has changed overtime, but with the ratio of income to the current prices of fast food in today’s society, it has greatly caused a change in consumption and health. In the 1950’s, many of the major fast food chains had originated or grown more popular. Fast food restaurants enlarged its existence in the culture of the 1950’s, as the demand for quick and cheap food grew without the consideration of health and nutrition. Consumers became busier, needing food quickly at work, or they had wanted to eat quick-made food in front of their newly innovative TV’s. Innovation of new products enhanced the development of fast foods and restaurants, only creating the culture of fast food concrete.

Fast food chains such as Dunkin Donuts originated in the 1950’s, along with the renowned fast food restaurant, McDonald’s. Although McDonald’s opened in the 1940’s, it began to expand greatly in the late 1950’s, when an entrepreneur named Ray Kroc visited the McDonald’s trying to sell his innovative product. Instead of trying to sell his product, he became invested in the chain, and opened up a franchise that forever changed McDonald’s – ultimately making it the world’s largest fast food restaurant. McDonald’s restaurants had many imitators follow, but none of them “could match the success of the McDonald’s formula for fast food” (Dunar, Andrew 172).

One of the early few Dunkin Donuts chains in the early 1950’s

The culture of fast food started to take off in other different food niches as well. The fast food industry did not only pertain to coffee shops and burgers, but also foods such as pizza and fried chicken. Kentucky Fried Chicken opened in 1952, later followed by Pizza Hut and Domino’s in the late 50’s, that still exist and compete with one another in the modern day. This fast food boom had not only created a whole new market for consumers and food production, but also for medical purposes as well later to be realized in the future. Although fast food is cheap and quick, the innocent ignorance of health in relation to the nutrition in these foods rose, causing many of the older generations to have health problems, such as obesity and high cholesterol. This culture carried out into the modern day where even children, teenagers, and young adults are consumed by the fast food market, and also becoming unhealthy, causing much of the population to be obese. Today, many of these fast food restaurants still exist; more are developing today with the highly competitive market of food. The 1950’s greatly influenced the United States culture today, allowing for certain markets and possibilities to open up and flourish, without understanding the built up consequences of health.

Works Cited

Christian, Rashad, Thomas, Inas. “Economics & Human Biology – Trends in U.S. Food Prices, 1950–2007.” Trends in U.S. Food Prices, 1950–2007, Elsevier, Mar. 2009,

Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. Syracuse University Press, 2006.

Medical Advancements in the 1950s

by admin - November 20th, 2017

By Amanda Babbitt

The 1950s were an important time for the advancement of medicine. Many large accomplishments took place, many of them keeping people alive. President Truman supported health care legislation in his Fair Deal. “Truman called for more medical facilities, both to expand health care and to train new physicians, dentists, and nurses,” (Dunnar 32-33). Truman also supported national health insurance. This was a very controversial part of his plan which was attacked by the American Medical Association.

One of the widely known about things was the polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk. The polio epidemic had been sweeping the United States affecting so many people. Polio is a virus that is able to invade the person’s brain and spinal cord causing paralysis. Jonas Salk was able to develop an injected vaccine for this virus. Although it was not completely effective it still played a large role in the beginning of wiping out this disease. Albert Sabin was able to develop an oral polio vaccine that was much more effective and more convenient but the later half of the decade was spent perfecting and testing it before it was put into use.

During this decade, huge changes in cardiology were put into place. The first open heart surgery took place in 1954. This was able to happen because “heart surgeons could stop the blood flow within the human body, allowing them to repair faulty hearts,” (The 1950s Medicine and Health: Overview). Now that open heart surgeries were now possible, heart problems that had once lead to death were sometimes able to be fixed.

During the 1950s the first birth control pill for women was tested widely. This pill called Enovid, was tested on women mainly in Puerto Rico. Although it took many people and a long process of development, Gregory Pincus and Margaret Sanger were the first to create the product in Worcester, Ma. In 1957 Enovid was “put on the market for the treatment of gynecological disorders but was used off-label for birth control,” (Buttar, Seward) until 1960 when it was approved by the FDA to be used to prevent pregnancy.

This is a photo of the Enovid pills. Unlike birth control pills today that come in a pack with pills separated out by day, these came in a normal pill bottle

Something that is extremely useful for many people to know today was discovered in the 1950s. Medical professionals found out that smoking cigarettes is remarkably detrimental to one’s health. Cigarettes are specifically horrible for a person’s lungs. They are a large reason for the development of lung cancer. A large percent of the population today knows that cigarettes are very unhealthy and are sometimes the reason some people die. People know this today because of the research and discoveries made in the 1950s.

Many major advances in the medical field are made every decade. A few large ones were made in the 1950s and it is clear to see that they had a huge impact on lives at the time and also lives now almost 70 years later. To see more things that were discovered or developed in the 50s or other decades this timeline shows many important advances.

Works Cited

Buttar, Aliya,, Seward, Sheraden, “Enovid: The First Hormonal Birth Control Pill”. Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2009-01-20). ISSN: 1940-5030

Dunar, Andrew J. America in the Fifties. Syracuse University Press, 2006.

“Medicine and Madison Avenue.” Duke Digital Collections, Duke University Libraries,

“The 1950s Medicine and Health: Overview.” UXL American Decades, edited by Julie L. Carnagie, et al., vol. 6: 1950-1959, UXL, 2003, pp. 116-117. U.S. History in Context

Interstate Highway System

by admin - November 7th, 2017

By Kelsea Blair

The Dwight Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways is made up of more than 46,000 miles of intercity highways. Construction for the system was approved in 1956 by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. Eisenhower believed this system of highways would eliminate traffic jams, unsafe roads, inefficient routes and also would provide a quick route of evacuation in case of an atomic attack on any major cities.

Eisenhower was inspired for the idea of the interstate highways when he was stationed in Germany during World War II. He was impressed with the “Reichsautobahnen”. Eisenhower’s Federal Aid Highway Act provided 26 billion dollars to pay for the highways to be built. The money came from the new gas tax, where gas was now 3 cents a gallon instead of 2.

Most people supported the Interstate Highway Act but some people did not like it at all. The main reasons people did not like it was because it was causing damage to some cities, displacing families from their homes and splitting up communities. In 1959 in San Francisco the Board of Supervisors stopped the construction of the Embarcadero Freeway. Following this first victory, activists in New York City, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and New Orleans fought back too. Because of this many urban interstate highways end very abruptly, so they are referred to as the “roads to nowhere”.

The Interstate Highway System was and still is a very crucial part of the American economy. It increased the desire and need for more gas stations, shopping malls, and fast food places right near the highways for easy access. The Interstate Highway System is highly responsible for the large amount of fast food restaurants in the United States. At almost every off ramp on the highway there are at least 2 or 3 fast food options to choose from. You can also read or hear more about the other consequences the Interstate Highway System has here.

This is a map of the Interstate Highway System

The Interstate Highway System has benefited the United States since its beginning. It has provided job opportunities for many people, makes traveling much easier for people, allows goods to be delivered faster, more businesses to open up, and more tourism for bigger cities. It is a way for the country to “connect as one”.

Work Cited:

Burke, Adam. “A Road System’s Unintended Consequences.” NPR, NPR, 27 June 2006, Staff. “The Interstate Highway System.”, A&E Television Networks, 2010,

Matthews, Robert. “Interstate Highway System.” Dictionary of American History, edited by Stanley I. Kutler, 3rd ed., vol. 4, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003, pp. 403-405. U.S. History in Context, Accessed 6 Nov. 2017.

Rosa Parks

by admin - November 6th, 2017

By Meagan Perro

Rosa Louise Lee Parks played a very important role in the fight against segregation. She was an African American woman born in Tuskegee, Alabama on February 4th, 1913. She made her mark on the world on December 1st, 1955 when she decided to rebel. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. Everyone knows her by name as the woman who refused to to give up her seat, but that is really all most know. Rosa Parks contributed to the Civil Rights Movement in many ways and she had a huge impact on the world. She died on October 24th, 2005 and her life was honored greatly by multitudes of people. “Many sought to commemorate her commitment to racial justice and pay tribute to her courage and public service” (Theoharis, J). Although most know her as one of the United States’s most significant hero, not many people honestly know everything she has done.

Growing up, Rosa was extremely affected by the segregation and racism surrounding her. “Rosa later remembered lying in bed hearing the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist terrorist organization, riding by in the dark of night” (“Parks, Rosa”). Rosa’s mother sent her to a private school where she learned the concept of self-worth. She then went on to study at Alabama State University. She did not graduate because she married Raymond Parks and moved to Montgomery, Alabama. They were civil rights activists together all of their adult lives. As one of the first women to join the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, she became the youth advisor and the secretary. She also volunteered with the Montgomery Voters League, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In mid 1955, Rosa also attended a workshop that taught her to organize and mobilize “black citizens to fight for workers’ rights in labor unions and racial equality, including school integration” (“Parks, Rosa”).

Rosa had been fighting against segregation long before her well-known effort in not giving up her seat on that particular day. Previously, Rosa had refused to get off and use the back door of the bus to get to her seat and was thrown off. It can be argued that Rosa’s refusal to stand and her arrest was not the most important thing she did in her fight against segregation. There are other people who were also arrested for the same action, including Claudette Colvin, a 15 year old girl who also refused to give up her seat. What can be considered more crucial is what happened after her arrest. E. D. Nixon, leader of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, spread the word of her arrest and by the next night there was fifty local black leaders gathered to fight segregation. This group formed the Montgomery Improvement Association. It was led by Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks was the executive committee to the organization. The organization called for the famous bus boycott well known today. This bus boycott is what ended segregation on buses. Rosa fought her guilty conviction from her refusal to stand and won. Rosa continued to be active in the NAACP for the rest of her life. She also founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute of Self Development, which inspires African Americans towards education and a career.

Rosa Parks receiving an award from Bill Clinton.

Works Cited
“Parks, Rosa.” Prejudice in the Modern World Reference Library, vol. 3: Biographies, UXL, 2007, pp. 167-174. World History in Context, Accessed 5 Nov. 2017.

Theoharis, Jeanne. “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks.” The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, Beacon Press, 2015, p. viii.