In the United States of America, Rosa Parks received widespread recognition as the “mother of the contemporary day civil rights movement.” It was on December 1, 1955, that she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, to a white man passenger.
This act of defiance set off a wave of protests on December 5, 1955, which resonated throughout the United States. Her unassuming bravery in the face of adversity altered the course of history and revolutionised America’s perspective on black people.
Early Life Of Rosa Park
Rosa Louise McCauley, better known as Rosa Parks, was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, on February 4, 1913. Her parents, James McCauley and Leona Edwards, gave birth to her there. Her mother was a schoolteacher, and her father was a carpenter when they were working.
Because she was sick all the time when she was younger, she never grew past the age of a small child. Her mother relocated the three of them to the town of Pine Level, which is located within Montgomery County in the state of Alabama, following the breakup of her parents’ marriage. The remainder of Rosa’s childhood was spent on the farm that was owned by her grandparents.
Rosa did not start attending a public school until she was eleven years old; prior to that, she was homeschooled. It was true that her mother had given her private lessons at home. At the age of eleven, she attended the Industrial School for Girls in Montgomery,
Alabama, where she participated in a variety of academic and practical classes. She started lab school as part of her secondary education, but she had to leave early to help take care of her ageing grandmother, so she was never able to finish it. As a result of spending her formative years in Montgomery, she became deeply ingrained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Rosa’s upbringing was profoundly influenced by the segregationist Jim Crow laws that were prevalent in the South and that divided whites and blacks in virtually every facet of daily life. Education, public transportation, and even public restrooms and drinking fountains were all a part of it.
The white pupils who attended school were transported to their institution by bus, whilst the black students who attended a different school were required to walk there.
The lone exception to this policy of segregation in public transportation was the demand that black passengers seat in the back of the bus away from white passengers. This was the single instance in which this policy was enforced.
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Socially Enforced Laws In 1955
Rosa moved back to Montgomery and got a job at the Montgomery Fair Mall’s department store after she had been away for a while. Every day, Rosa rode the bus to and from work. In the South, segregation on public transportation was still the norm.
This meant that the first four rows of bus seating were off-limits to anyone other than whites. The “coloured” parts of the bus were located at the very end of the vehicle. The driver could change the ratio of whites to non-whites at any time by rearranging the portable hoardings that delineated the sections.
If white people were waiting to board the bus and there wasn’t enough room for everyone, black people had to either stand up or get off. They couldn’t sit next to a white passenger on the other side of the aisle. If a white passenger was boarding the bus, the black passengers had to board from the rear.
On rare occasions, once a black passenger had paid the driver and walked to the bus door, the bus would speed off before the person could exit.
Many people have tried and failed to get rid of the segregation rules. Claudette Colvin, a girl from Montgomery, Alabama, who was 15 at the time, was the focus of the most well-known of them. Claudette was arrested for the same offence as Parks nine months before Parks’ conviction.
She failed to offer her seat to a white man. She said that it would be a violation of her rights to make her move against her will. Rosa Parks was a mentor to the NAACP Youth Council, in which Colvin was an active member. It turned up in retrospect.
After Colvin learned she was pregnant, E.D. Nixon thought she wasn’t the best representative of the civil rights movement because of her unwed pregnancy.
In the past, activists like Rosa Parks and members of the black community have spoken out against this and other forms of prejudice. For Parks, the first of many disagreements with the bus drivers began in 1943,
when she boarded the vehicle through the front door because of the rain. The bus driver made her exit the vehicle and re-enter it through the rear door.
As she exited the bus, she carelessly tossed her suitcase to the ground. She knelt in a whites-only section of the seating to retrieve it. After Rosa got out of the bus, the enraged driver took off down the road. In the pouring rain, Rosa walked the five miles home.
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Death And Funeral Of Rosa Park
Rosa passed away on October 24, 2005, after being diagnosed with severe dementia in 2004. Three days after Rosa’s death, all of the city buses in Montgomery and Detroit were decked with black ribbons for the front seats.
After Rosa was buried, nobody moved from these seats. As she slowly made her way to the cemetery, she was reminded of all she had believed in and stood for during her life.
On October 29, 2005, her body was flown back to Montgomery and then escorted in a horse-drawn coffin to St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church.
She was laid to rest in the church overnight before a funeral service was held in her honour the following day. The secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, spoke during the memorial service. In her remarks, Rice made a profound observation by saying that Rosa’s work paving the road for future inspirational black leaders to flourish was directly responsible for her own success.
On the day of Rosa’s funeral, President George W. Bush ordered all flags, both domestic and foreign, to be flown at half-mast in the United States Capitol and all other public locations.
Many people were able to pay their respects to Rosa Parks, a woman who had a profound impact on the future of the United States, because her body was allowed to rest in so many illustrious places. The thousands that lined the route of the funeral procession and the hundreds who attended the memorial services are more proof of the impact that Rosa Parks had during her 90 years on Earth.