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Rosa Parks Essay

1659 words - 7 pages

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks, born in Tuskegee, Alabama on February 4, 1913 in was raised in an era during which segregation was normal and black suppression was a way of life. She lived with relatives in Montgomery, where she finished high school in 1933 and continued her education at Alabama State College. She married her husband, Raymond Parks, a barber, in 1932. She worked as a clerk, an insurance salesperson, and a tailor’s assistant at a department store. She was also employed as a seamstress by white residents of Montgomery who were supporters of black Americans’ struggle for freedom and equal rights. Parks became active in civil rights work in the 1930’s. In 1943 Rosa became one of the first women to join the Montgomery National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Between 1943 and 1956 she served as a secretary for the group and later as an advisor to the NAACP Youth Council. She also contributed to the Montgomery Voters League to increase black voter registration. During the summer of 1955 Rosa accepted a scholarship given to community leaders which gave her a chance to work on school integration at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee. This was an excellent opportunity for her because she was able to experience racial harmony which nurtured her activism. Obviously Rosa, like many others, dedicated many years of her life trying to increase equality for black Americans. Though these efforts did not go unnoticed or fail in making any progress, it wasn’t until Dec. 1 of 1955 that Rosa made a decision that would later make her known as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement”. On this significant day Rosa simply refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man who was standing. Though it seems ridiculous today, she was arrested, jailed, and put to trial because of this. She simply made a silent statement that would forever change her life. This decision sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, not because it was the first time that a black American was arrested for refusing to give up his seat, but because Rosa was already well-known as a black activist and this could be used by the NAACP to address segregation. After her arrest and involvement in the boycott Rosa lost her job at the department store. Two years later in 1957, she and her husband moved to Detroit. There she worked as a seamstress for eight years before she became Congressman John Conyer’s administrative assistant. She stayed active in the Civil Rights Movement and joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She also participated in several marches and rallies, and in the mid 80’s she made a countless number of public appearances and gave history lessons about the Civil Rights Movement.

In 1987 she founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development, which is committed to career training for young black Americans. It was a dream of hers to one day create an institute to help reduce the dropout rate of black...

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