When you get onto a bus and look around what do you see? Most likely a bus full of many people form many different walks of life and many different ethnicities, however it was not always like this.
Born on February 4th 1913 in Tuskegee Alabama USA was Rosa Louise McMauley. As a young girl Rosa attended Montgomery Industrial School for Girls, where as her previous segregated school didn’t provide the education she needed. Later in her life Rosa worked as a seamstress in a local department store, little did she know in just a little bit her life would change forever.
Later that year (1995) on December 1st Rosa Parks got on a bus in Montgomery. Like the rest of the “coloured people” she walked to the section of the bus that was designated for non whites. When she finally sat down, a bus attendee approached Rosa and asked her to move to the back of the bus to make room for this white person because the “white section” had already filled up. Now some may say that it was because she was tired form working all day but according to Rosa the only thing she was tired of was giving in “people say i didn’t give up my seat because i was tired…the only tired i was, was of giving in”-Rosa Parks. At the time it was illegal for a black person not to give up their to a white person so therefor that day Rosa Parks was taken into custody and arrested. Eventually she was let out on bail however this event sparked the most influential boycott in American history.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott to this day is still the most impactful and successful Boycott America has ever seen. The boycott lasted 13 months (381 days). This involved African Americans in Montgomery not taking the bus and rather taking taxies form black owned taxi businesses or simply walking instead of taking transit. With the combined efforts of the community, Martin Luther King Jr, and Rosa Parks, the boycott eventually came to an end on December 20th 1956 with the supreme court ruling segregation on public transit unconstitutional. This was an extremely crucial part in the civil rights movement and a big step towards ending segregation in America.
Her outstanding efforts and drive when standing up for herself and others like her, as well as helping to spark and organize a boycott that ended segregation on public transit, had lead to her many awards given to her such as The Golden Plate Award (1995), Spingard Medal (1979), Presidential Medal of Freedom (this was awarded to Rosa by former president Bill Clinton in 1996, this award is the highest form of honour that can be given to a United States civilian.), Congressional Gold Medal ( awarded in 1999, it is the highest show of appreciation form the USA congress to an individuals achievements), and finally the NAACP image award (2000).
All of that being said theres is no doubt that Rosa Parks is an amazing leader. From motivating and inspiring citizens to not settle for segregation, winning numerous honorary awards, creating a name for herself world wide as a symbol of civil rights, and finally leaving her stamp of pride and resilience behind to encourage others to fight for what is just and right.
Now in Montgomery at Troy University there lives the Rosa Parks Museum where they pay homage to the civil rights icon and because of the valiant leader she was we now live in a society where we can work towards further racial equality and justice for those that have been mistreated under the law.
Rosa Parks Museum . Rosa Parks Museum. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2022, from https://www.troy.edu/student-life-resources/arts-culture/rosa-parks-museum/index.html l
Moholtra, A. (2008, June 1). # Rosa Parks Achievements, accomplishments, & awards. Rosa Parks Facts. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from https://rosaparksfacts.com/rosa-parks-awards-achievements/
Wallenfeldt, Jeff. “Montgomery Bus Boycott.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 16 Mar. 2020, https://www.britannica.com/event/Montgomery-bus-boycott.
Zeeshan, Rameen. “10 Most Salient Boycotts in History Which Actually Had an Impact.” Medium, History of Yesterday, 19 Jan. 2022, https://historyofyesterday.com/10-most-salient-boycotts-in-history-which-actually-had-an-impact-c49a6e460355.
“Montgomery Bus Boycott.” The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, 30 May 2019, https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/montgomery-bus-boycott#:~:text=Sparked%20by%20the%20arrest%20of,on%20public%20buses%20is%20unconstitutional.
“Rosa Parks.” NAACP, 11 May 2021, https://naacp.org/find-resources/history-explained/civil-rights-leaders/rosa-parks.
History.com Editors, history.com editors. “Rosa Parks.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 9 Nov. 2009, https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/rosa-parks#:~:text=Rosa%20Parks%20(1913%E2%80%942005),organize%20the%20Montgomery%20Bus%20Boycott.