Even though we are living in the 21st century, race and racism is still an issue. There is still a long way to go to reach equality among people of all colors and sexes. It is important to be aware of this problem and do our best to change the way people think.
And what better way to do that than taking inspiration from people from the past who, with an act of bravery, changed the attitude of the people and their minds. One such person was Rosa Parks.
Who was Rosa Parks?
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was born on February 4, 1913, in Alabama. She married Raymond Parks in 1932 who urged her to complete her high school studies – at a time when very few African Americans had a high-school diploma. Moreover, when the two met and fell in love, he was part of the NAACP – the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 1943, she started to work for this association and was later elected secretary, becoming the only woman to work there.
She did many different jobs during her life. She worked also as a housekeeper for a white family who encouraged her to study at the Highlander Folk School – a training school for emerging and existing activists.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott
The Montgomery bus boycott started the day after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to accommodate a white person. The reason why this action was extremely relevant is because it opposed to the law in force in Montgomery at that time, which was enacted in order to regulate bus rides. According to the law, black people were granted only some seats on the back of the bus – even though they made up the majority of the ridership. If there were more white people than vacant seats, black passengers were supposed to give up their seats. Since black people were not allowed to stand near the area where white people were sitting, they were often forced to leave the bus altogether.
Rosa Parks‘ act of refusing to give up her seat to a white person inspired the black community to fight for their rights and to defeat the unconstitutional laws that segregated buses. This was achieved in 1956 when the Supreme Court declared these laws unfair in Alabama and Montgomery.
Rosa Parks‘ courage was the starting point of a fight for equal rights for people of all sexes and colors. She had inspired the following generations and her legacy keeps on spurring present-day people to make their voices be heard.