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In Montgomery Alabama 1955, the segregation laws required blacks to pay at the front of the bus and re-board at the back of the bus. These laws also included that the blacks were required to relinquish their seats to any white person who so demanded. Furthermore a black person was not allowed to even sit in the aisle across from a white person. The following events of the Montgomery boycott that Mrs. Rosa Parks initiated unknowingly lead to freedom and equality for all, as well as ended the segregation being in 1956.
“To this day I still believe we are here on the planet Earth to live, to grow and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.” (http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Apps/News/speeches/SP_details.asp?SpID=18) Rosa Louise McCauley was born Feb. 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her father was a carpenter and her mother was a teacher. At 11 Rosa entered a store with her cousin and experienced first hand the hatred and ignorance of the South when the proprietor told her they didn't serve sodas to "colored people". Even though this was legal at the time Rosa knew that it was wrong. This incident stayed with her all of her life. Mrs. Rosa Parks at the momentary time did not intend on impacting the world, she simply was tired, though no more than normal from her job as a seamstress. She had stated in a 1997 interview “ that she just felt that she had the right to be treated as any other passenger; and she had endured that type of treatment for too long.” (http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/par0bio-1) On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks boarded the bus that would return her to her home from work. After a stop a gentleman asked for her and another black man’s seat. She remained in her seat as she refused to relinquish her place, acting upon her convictions she refused. The result of this was that the police were called and she was subsequently arrested, jailed and fined 14 dollars. Rosa said: “I kept thinking about my mother and my grandparents, and how strong they were.
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In my findings I found that ----% correctly knew who Rosa Parks was, and the remaining ---% answered incorrectly. Mrs. Parks was such as great influence on today’s now and then, and her strong will and effects prove to be --------.
Following the arrest of Rosa Parks there was a 381-day boycott of the Public Transportation Bus System. It was then organized by, Doctor Martin Luther King, who at that time was well unknown. This boycott came after the supreme courts landmark the declaration, which stated separate schools for blacks and whites was inherently unequal and unnecessary, which marked the start of the modern civil rights movement. . "For a little more than a year, we stayed off those busses. We did not return to using public transportation until the Supreme Court said there shouldn't be racial segregation," (http://www.firelily.com/gender/gianna/bus.html) the boycott continued and the United States Supreme Court declared the laws requiring segregation on the buses to be illegal. The boycott proved successful. Rosa was tired that day on the bus but not so much that she wouldn't have been willing to let a child or an elderly person take her seat.
Rosa Parks, was arrested and fined for violating a city ordinance, but her brave act of defiance began a movement that ended legal segregation in America, and made her an inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere. She has been called “the mother of the civil rights movement.” (http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/par0bio-1) An ordinary person of extraordinary character and commitment in, she has participated civil rights activities large and small over many decades. The Montgomery Boycott initiated the 1964 Civil Rights Act, an act that banned racial discrimination in public accommodations. On December 21, 1956, the bus system was legally integrated. It was stated by Time Magazine, “It is no less than the belief in the power of the individual, that cornerstone of American Dream, that she inspires, along with the hope that all of us, could be brave, that serenely human when crunch time comes.” (http://www.time.com/time/time100/heroes/profile/parks03.html) After the bus had been sitting unprotected in a field for 30 years in Alabama, it was left sitting until it was purchased and used for a tool shed before it was put up for auction. The bus was in need of a substantial amount of restoration work by the time the museum found an interest in purchasing it. To perform the restoration, the work was estimated by at a cost of $300,000 or more. It was restored in Dearborn, Michigan by the Henry ford museum and Greenfield village. The museum had bought the bus and the documentation that proved it was the bus that Rosa parks had sat on that indeed helped in the inauguration of the Civil Rights Movement of 1956.
Rosa Parks and her husband Raymond Parks moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1957. In 1994 Rosa had her autobiography, "Quiet Strength" published. That same year a young man who wanted money had assaulted her, with her usual forgiving heart she said, "I pray for this young man and the conditions in our country that have made him this way. Despite the violence and crime in our society, we should not let fear overwhelm us. We must remain strong." (http://www.grandtimes.com/rosa.html) In 1996 Rosa Parks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor given to a civilian, by President Clinton. In 1999 she received the Congressional Gold Medal. Sometimes standing up for what we believe in requires that we sit down. Change happens when an act of "stillness" happens. The stopping of what has become a negative pattern opens up the door to change. Rosa Parks departed on Oct. 24, 2005 and the bus stops there. She was 92; Rosa Parks will be famous as long as people have within them the desire for freedom.
Academy of Achievement “American Academy of Achievement” 10/19/08 http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/par0bio-1 1996 - 2008
Rosa Parks Bus “ The Henry Ford Rosa Parks Bus” 10/23/08 http://www.hfmgv.org/exhibits/rosaparks/home.asp 2002
Remarks of County Executive Douglas M. Duncan - Rosa Parks Tribute “ Montgomery County MD Government” 10/22/08 http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Apps/News/speeches/SP_details.asp?SpID=18 2002-2008
The Rosa Parks Library and Museum “The Troy Montgomery Campus” 10/20/08 http://montgomery.troy.edu/rosaparks/museum/ 2008
King Encyclopedia “The King Center” 10/23/08 http://www.thekingcenter.org/ 2004
Grand Times “Rosa Parks-A Woman Who Changed A Nation” 10/21/08 http://www.grandtimes.com/rosa.html 1995-2008
Rosa (Lee McCauley) Parks Biography (1913-2005) “Bio True Stories” 10/23/08 http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=9433715 1996-2008
Rosa Louise Parks Biography “Rosa and Raymond Parks Institution for self development” 10/23/08 http://www.rosaparks.org/bio.html 2005
Gianna E. Israel Gender Library “Riding the Bus” 10/19/2008 http://www.firelily.com/gender/gianna/bus.html 1999
The Time 100 “ Hero’s and Icons” 10/19/2008 http://www.time.com/time/time100/heroes/profile/parks03.html 2003