Also known as "the first lady of civil rights" , Rosa Louise McCauley Parks made a huge difference in the world of Civil Rights. She was born on February 4, 1913, and died October 24, 2005. Her big story started when Mrs. Parks sat down on a bus seat that was only available to white people. This woman's lonesome act of resistance started a movement that terminated legal segregation in the United States and created another role model to freedom-loving people everywhere.
During the life of Rosa Parks, she, among many others, suffered many issues with black codes and Jim Crow laws. She once said in an interview that "Back then, we didn't have any civil rights. It was just a matter of survival, of existing from one day to the next. I remember going to sleep as a girl hearing the Klan ride at night and hearing a lynching and being afraid the house would burn down." (Academy of Achievement) She said that she did not have any special fears, ...view middle of the document...
She and her people were strongly against being considered “second-class citizens." (Academy of Achievement)
Soon after all of the cases and tireless efforts with the NAACP, came the bus incident. On Thursday, December 1, 1955, 42 year old Rosa Parks took a seat on the Cleveland Avenue bus around 6 p.m. At the time, she was sitting at the front of the “COLORED ONLY” section on the bus, minding her own business. When the bus pulled up to its third stop at the Empire Theater, the white section had filled up. To fix the ‘problem’, the bus driver moved the “colored” section sign behind Rosa, along with three other colored people. The bus driver, James F. Blake, ordered the others, along with Mrs. Parks, to give up their seats in order for the white people to have a place to sit. The other three people got up and moved to the back, but Rosa remained seated. She was asked by the bus driver to move over, but instead of getting up and switching to another seat, she scooted over towards the window. Then “Blake said, ‘Why don't you stand up?’ Parks responded, ‘I don't think I should have to stand up.’” (Wikipedia) After this, Blake called the police and Parks was arrested. That day was a truly changing moment in history.
Later on, Rosa Parks wrote an autobiography, called My Story. In it, she wrote “People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” (Wikipedia) She lived a strong life of leadership after this day, and became a role model for many.
After Parks’ husband died in 1977, she established the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development. The Institution supported a yearly summer camp for teenagers, known as the Pathways to Freedom. In it, the teenagers get to travel around the country in buses. They learn about the history of the country and the civil rights movement. In 1996, Rosa Parks was rewarded by Clinton with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999. She lead an amazing life full of so much passion and healthy roles.