Saturday, 12 May 2018

MY HERO: ROSA PARKS

Reader Charli shares why Rosa Parks is such an inspiration to her, and should be to everyone!

Sometimes the simplest of actions can speak louder than a thousand words.

1st of December, 1955. Montgomery, Alabama. After a long day at work, a young woman by the name of Rosa Parks simply refused to give up her seat to a white man. This was one of the most courageous acts of the civil rights movement. It sparked the Montgomery boycott and countless other efforts to end segregation.

Rosa Parks was a seamstress who had recently joined the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or the NAACP. It was here she was inspired and given strength to stand up for her rights. She wasn’t just physically tired after a hard days work. She was tired of giving in to white people.

Three of the other black passengers on Rosa’s bus complied with the driver because it was the law, but Rosa refused and remained seated. The driver demanded, "Why don't you stand up?" to which Rosa replied, "I don't think I should have to stand up.” She was immediately arrested.

In the following weeks, a mass Montgomery bus boycott was organised in response to this injustice. On the morning of December 5, a group of Civil Rights activists gathered by the Mt. Zion Church in Montgomery to discuss strategies and determined that their proposed boycott required a new organisation and strong leadership. Thus they started the Montgomery Improvement Association, electing newcomer Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. They believed that Rosa Parks' case provided a perfect opportunity create real change.

Despite Parks’ becoming a symbol for the civil rights movement - referred to as the ‘mother of the Civil Rights movement’ - the following months after her arrest were awful. She and her husband lost their jobs and were forced to move in search of work. They eventually settled and found work in in Detroit, where she remained an active member of the NAACP.

She is my biggest inspiration because her defiance was so simple, so elegant. She had just had enough.

Cathy says:
Rosa is one of my heroes also... when I first heard her story I just couldn't believe that the front seats of American buses had once been reserved for white people only. Rosa's bravery changed things for the better, but we must always take a stand against racism and inequality, wherever and whoever we are. Who are YOUR heroes? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

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