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.

4 Responses to “Rosa Parks”

  1. Victoria Lemire says:

    Rosa Parks did so many thing during her lifetime that were very uncommon for a woman of the 1950’s. I’m glad that you highlighted some of her many other accomplishments in this blog post so that it might educate more people about her life. She was a significant figure in the Civil Rights Movement, but all she is known for is essentially not giving up her seat on the bus. I’m glad that you brought awareness to the fact that most people only know this one action of hers.

  2. Amanda Babbitt says:

    Something that surprised me was that Rosa Parks died in 2005. I had always thought of her as someone from the past and did not recognize that I was alive for some of her life. Also the jobs that she had for the NAACP, being the youth advisor and secretary, seemed stereotypical to me. Since she was the first woman to join, she did the jobs that you would expect a woman to be doing, such as working with kids. I wonder what would’ve happened if one of the other people that had refused to give up their seat on the bus had started something the way Parks did. Would we know them the way we know Rosa Parks today? I also wonder what was so special about this incident that caused people to take action to stop this if she had done similar things before.

  3. Jessica Fournier says:

    It is surprising to think that Rosa Parks is, for the most part, only recognized as being the African American woman who refused to give up her seat to a white man, when she has done so much more for the Civil Rights Movement. I can see why this was a controversial event, but I have read that there was another African American teenager who did the same thing some time earlier, but they did not want to use her as the leading figure of this movement because she was pregnant teen. I wonder if Rosa Parks would be as known as she is now if she was not considered the first woman to do this, even though she has done so much for the rights of African Americans.

  4. Kelsea Blair says:

    Its very surprising that she was able to fight her guilty conviction and actually win especially since she was an African American woman. I also did not know she died in 2005 like Amanda had stated above. I feel like since I associate her with the 50’s and 60’s I just assumed she died at some point before I was born but seeing the picture you included with her and Bill Clinton was very interesting to see. I wish she was famous for her other accomplishments and not just refusing her seat on the bus because she had some very extraordinary accomplishments besides that I feel like more people should be familiar with.