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A Woman Who Changed Things: Rosa Parks Essay
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"Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome" (BrainyQuote.com). No one can change the world by themselves, but they can always make an impact on the world. Rosa Parks, along with others, was one of those people who made an impact on the Civil Rights Movement. She was influenced early in her life, she acted in the Montgomery Bus Boycott; she was affected by the boycott, and had an effect on the Civil Rights Movement. Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist early in her life. She was born in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her parents separated when she was at a young age and her mother took her and her family to a town near Montgomery, Alabama to live with her grandparents (Rosa Parks Facts). Rosa's grandparents were former slaves and strong advocates for racial equality (Rosa Parks Biography). While she lived with her grandparents, she developed strong roots in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (Rosa Parks Facts). She remembers, in her autobiography, when she was little that her grandfather stood at the front door with a loaded shotgun and watched the Ku Klux Klan, or KKK, marched by. This frightened her, but, at the same time, this taught her about the prejudices against African Americans at the time. She also remembers many white people that were kind to her family when she was growing up. This taught her to be aware of the prejudices of most, not all, whites in the South. But she refused to allow that to lessen her attitude towards goodness of mankind (Rosa Parks Facts). She was homeschooled until she was sent to a one-room schoolhouse. Her school often lacked the supplies they needed, like desks. At the time, African American children were not allowed to ride the bus to school and they were forced to walk every day. When she was eleven, she attended Industrial School for Girls where she took vocational and academic courses. When Rosa was in the 11th grade, she had to quit school to help take care of her sick grandmother. This resulted in her not completing high school (Rosa Parks Biography). After quitting school, she started work at a shirt factory (Rosa Parks Biography). Rosa married Raymond Parks, who was a barber, when she was 19. Raymond was also an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. He encouraged Rosa to go back to high school and earn her high school degree, which she did in 1933 (Rosa Parks Biography). She went on to attend Alabama State College in Montgomery after she got her high school diploma (Hull). A group of black men, known as the "Scottsboro Boys", were falsely accused of raping two white women and Rosa and her husband, along with others, fought to raise money to defend them (Rosa Parks Facts). She became involved in civil rights issues after years of influence from her husband. She joined Montgomery's NAACP as the youth leader and secretary in 1943, which lasted for 13 years (Rosa Parks Biography). She trained in nonviolent methods (Hull). Rosa had a turning point in her attitude towards civil right when she got her first taste of a life of equality. She was working on the Maxwell Air Force Base which was considered a federally owned area, meaning segregation was not allowed there. Working there opened Rosa Parks eyes (Rosa Parks Facts). Rosa began to work as a seamstress in a department store. December 1, 1955 was a changing day for Rosa Parks. She was 42-years-old at the time and was going home from work and rode the public bus. At that time, since public transportation was segregated, African Americans had to enter the front of the bus, pay the bus driver the fee, exit the bus, and reenter from the back to take their seat. The buses were segregated where the front half was permanently reserved for whites and the African Americans were forced to sit in the back half. If all of the seats in the front were filled and a white person got on the bus, the African Americans that were sitting in the front of their section of the bus had to give up their seat for the whites. Rosa got on the bus that day after she got off from a long, tiring day at work to go home. She paid her fee and reentered at the back of the bus. She took her seat which happened to be in the front of the African American section. A few stops later, a white man entered the bus. He noticed there were no seats left in the white section so he informed the bus driver. The bus driver then told Rosa and the other person that was sitting there to move. The other person who was sitting there got up and moved but Rosa Parks didn't. The bus driver, James Blake, walked back to her and instructed her again that she needed to get up or she would be arrested and fined. But she still remained seated. Rosa stated in her autobiography that she wouldn't have gotten on the bus if she was paying attention to who was driving. She had previously refused to reenter the bus from the back after paying her fee when the same bus driver was driving. James then got off the bus to call his supervisor what was happening. The police came and Parks was then taken into custody. She was then booked, fingerprinted, and briefly incarcerated. She was charged for "refusing to obey orders of the bus driver" (Arrest Records). The night Rosa was arrested, leaders of the boycott stayed up all night to make copies of the flyer that was going to be handed out about the boycott. Many believe this was the spark to challenge desegregation of public transportation in the South. Afterwards, Rosa gathered with African American leaders to discuss their response to the incident. Since African Americans made up 70% of the people who rode the city's bus system, they agreed a boycott would be appropriate for the situation. As a result, 90% of African Americans refused to ride the bus system for a total of 381 days, until December 20, 1956 (Arrest Records). This event later became known as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and made Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister, well known along with other people. During the bus boycott, Police Commissioner Clyde Sellers informed police to maintain order (Boycott Bus Line). On February 21, 1956, Rosa and many others were arrested for their involvement in the boycott which violated state laws against organized boycotting. Rosa's attorney said she would enter a plea of innocent on the matter. Sellers stated that it was impossible to tell what group was responsible for the event. He stationed police at the bus stops that African Americans reported they were threatened with bodily warm by other African Americans if they violated the boycott. J.H. Bagley, from Montgomery City Lines, Inc. said, "... first reports show that 80-85 percent of Negroes are staying off the buses..." (Boycott Bus Line). The Montgomery Bus Boycott was considered a huge victory, because it made an impact on the bus system and other white businesses, it lead to end segregation on buses, which was the goal in the first place. Due to Rosa Parks' involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, not only did she, but her husband as well, got fired from their jobs. After many threatening phone calls and death threats, Rosa, Raymond, and her mother moved to Detroit where Rosa's brother lived. There Rosa became an administrative aide to the Congressman in 1965. She held that job until the day she retired in 1988. Unfortunately before she retired her mother, brother, and husband passed away due to cancer. She traveled around after she retired. While traveling, she lent a hand in supporting civil rights events and causes. Rosa Parks also wrote her autobiography which she titled Rosa Parks: My Story. Rosa was awarded the highest honor the United States bestows on a civilian, the Congressional Gold Medal, in 1999. Parks had many accomplishments, among them she was the first woman in the nation's history to lay in state at the United States Capitol. She eventually died on October 24, 2005. Rosa was 92-years-old when she died (HISTORY). Rosa Parks was a great influence on our lives today. Without her strength and courage for standing up for what she believed in when others were too afraid we wouldn't live in the world we do today. Her legacy lives on until this day and most likely will continue to live on in the future. Many people believe she made an effect on the Civil Rights Movement. Rosa was influenced at an early age, continued to be influenced as she got older, took a stand for the movement, and just like any battle had consequences, some bad but mostly good. She teaches that it pays off to be brave and confident in yourself even if you aren't sure how others will react. She got awards for doing something about the situation and not because she sat back and watched people change the world for her. Rosa Parks is someone people would want to look up too.
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A Woman Who Changed Things: Rosa Parks
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A Woman Who Changed Things: Rosa Parks

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              "Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome" (BrainyQuote. com). No one can change the world by themselves, but they can always make an impact on the world. Rosa Parks, along with others, was one of those people who made an impact on the Civil Rights Movement. She was influenced early in her life, she acted in the Montgomery Bus Boycott; she was affected by the boycott, and had an effect on the Civil Rights Movement.
              Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist early in her life. She was born in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her parents separated when she was at a young age and her mother took her and her family to a town near Montgomery, Alabama to live with her grandparents (Rosa Parks Facts). Rosa's grandparents were former slaves and strong advocates for racial equality (Rosa Parks Biography). While she lived with her grandparents, she developed strong roots in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (Rosa Parks Facts). She remembers, in her autobiography, when she was little that her grandfather stood at the front door with a loaded shotgun and watched the Ku Klux Klan, or KKK, marched by. This frightened her, but, at the same time, this taught her about the prejudices against African Americans at the time. She also remembers many white people that were kind to her family when she was growing up. This taught her to be aware of the prejudices of most, not all, whites in the South. But she refused to allow that to lessen her attitude towards goodness of mankind (Rosa Parks Facts). She was homeschooled until she was sent to a one-room schoolhouse. Her school often lacked the supplies they needed, like desks. At the time, African American children were not allowed to ride the bus to school and they were forced to walk every day. When she was eleven, she attended Industrial School for Girls where she took vocational and academic courses. When Rosa was in the 11th grade, she had to quit school to help take care of her sick grandmother. This resulted in her not completing high school (Rosa Parks Biography).
             
              After quitting school, she started work at a shirt factory (Rosa Parks Biography). Rosa married Raymond Parks, who was a barber, when she was 19. Raymond was also an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. He encouraged Rosa to go back to high school and earn her high school degree, which she did in 1933 (Rosa Parks Biography). She went on to attend Alabama State College in Montgomery after she got her high school diploma (Hull).
             
              A group of black men, known as the "Scottsboro Boys", were falsely accused of raping two white women and Rosa and her husband, along with others, fought to raise money to defend them (Rosa Parks Facts). She became involved in civil rights issues after years of influence from her husband. She joined Montgomery's NAACP as the youth leader and secretary in 1943, which lasted for 13 years (Rosa Parks Biography). She trained in nonviolent methods (Hull). Rosa had a turning point in her attitude towards civil right when she got her first taste of a life of equality. She was working on the Maxwell Air Force Base which was considered a federally owned area, meaning segregation was not allowed there. Working there opened Rosa Parks eyes (Rosa Parks Facts). Rosa began to work as a seamstress in a department store.
             
              December 1, 1955 was a changing day for Rosa Parks. She was 42-years-old at the time and was going home from work and rode the public bus. At that time, since public transportation was segregated, African Americans had to enter the front of the bus, pay the bus driver the fee, exit the bus, and reenter from the back to take their seat. The buses were segregated where the front half was permanently reserved for whites and the African Americans were forced to sit in the back half. If all of the seats in the front were filled and a white person got on the bus, the African Americans that were sitting in the front of their section of the bus had to give up their seat for the whites. Rosa got on the bus that day after she got off from a long, tiring day at work to go home. She paid her fee and reentered at the back of the bus. She took her seat which happened to be in the front of the African American section. A few stops later, a white man entered the bus. He noticed there were no seats left in the white section so he informed the bus driver. The bus driver then told Rosa and the other person that was sitting there to move. The other person who was sitting there got up and moved but Rosa Parks didn't. The bus driver, James Blake, walked back to her and instructed her again that she needed to get up or she would be arrested and fined. But she still remained seated. Rosa stated in her autobiography that she wouldn't have gotten on the bus if she was paying attention to who was driving. She had previously refused to reenter the bus from the back after paying her fee when the same bus driver was driving. James then got off the bus to call his supervisor what was happening. The police came and Parks was then taken into custody. She was then booked, fingerprinted, and briefly incarcerated. She was charged for "refusing to obey orders of the bus driver" (Arrest Records). The night Rosa was arrested, leaders of the boycott stayed up all night to make copies of the flyer that was going to be handed out about the boycott. Many believe this was the spark to challenge desegregation of public transportation in the South.
             
              Afterwards, Rosa gathered with African American leaders to discuss their response to the incident. Since African Americans made up 70% of the people who rode the city's bus system, they agreed a boycott would be appropriate for the situation. As a result, 90% of African Americans refused to ride the bus system for a total of 381 days, until December 20, 1956 (Arrest Records). This event later became known as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and made Martin Luther King Jr. , a Baptist minister, well known along with other people. During the bus boycott, Police Commissioner Clyde Sellers informed police to maintain order (Boycott Bus Line). On February 21, 1956, Rosa and many others were arrested for their involvement in the boycott which violated state laws against organized boycotting. Rosa's attorney said she would enter a plea of innocent on the matter. Sellers stated that it was impossible to tell what group was responsible for the event. He stationed police at the bus stops that African Americans reported they were threatened with bodily warm by other African Americans if they violated the boycott. J. H. Bagley, from Montgomery City Lines, Inc. said, ". . . first reports show that 80-85 percent of Negroes are staying off the buses. . . " (Boycott Bus Line). The Montgomery Bus Boycott was considered a huge victory, because it made an impact on the bus system and other white businesses, it lead to end segregation on buses, which was the goal in the first place.
             
              Due to Rosa Parks' involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, not only did she, but her husband as well, got fired from their jobs. After many threatening phone calls and death threats, Rosa, Raymond, and her mother moved to Detroit where Rosa's brother lived. There Rosa became an administrative aide to the Congressman in 1965. She held that job until the day she retired in 1988. Unfortunately before she retired her mother, brother, and husband passed away due to cancer. She traveled around after she retired. While traveling, she lent a hand in supporting civil rights events and causes. Rosa Parks also wrote her autobiography which she titled Rosa Parks: My Story. Rosa was awarded the highest honor the United States bestows on a civilian, the Congressional Gold Medal, in 1999. Parks had many accomplishments, among them she was the first woman in the nation's history to lay in state at the United States Capitol. She eventually died on October 24, 2005. Rosa was 92-years-old when she died (HISTORY).
             
              Rosa Parks was a great influence on our lives today. Without her strength and courage for standing up for what she believed in when others were too afraid we wouldn't live in the world we do today. Her legacy lives on until this day and most likely will continue to live on in the future. Many people believe she made an effect on the Civil Rights Movement. Rosa was influenced at an early age, continued to be influenced as she got older, took a stand for the movement, and just like any battle had consequences, some bad but mostly good. She teaches that it pays off to be brave and confident in yourself even if you aren't sure how others will react. She got awards for doing something about the situation and not because she sat back and watched people change the world for her. Rosa Parks is someone people would want to look up too.
Rosa Parks Essay 
Arrest Records. 1999. 22 April 2014 .
Boycott Bus Line. 5 December 1955. 22 April 2014 .
BrainyQuote.com. 2014. 22 April 2014 .
HISTORY. n.d. 21 April 2014 .
Hull, Mary. Chelse House. 1999. 22 April 2014 .
Ragghianti, Marie. I Wanted to be Treated Like a Human Being. 19 January 1992. 21 April 2014 .
Rosa Parks Biography. n.d. 21 April 2014 .
Rosa Parks Facts. n.d. 22 April 2014 .
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