The Savannah Tribune Celebrates Black History Month

The Legacy Of Rosa Parks

 
 

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

-Rosa Parks

Rosa Louise Mc-Cauley Parks was an African American Civil Rights activist, whom the United States Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.”

Rosa Louise Mc- Cauley Parks, born February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama, lived her life determined to make a change during the time of inequality in the United States.

Parks was born to former slaves and was raised on their farm. The couple was adamant about racial equality. In past experience, Parks recalls her grandfather standing on the porch of their home with shotgun in hand as the Ku Klux Klan marched down their road. Parks’ mother wanted her daughter to be well educated. Parks’ education began with her mother reading books with her. She then began walking to school; African American children walked to the school, buses were for whites only.

Parks studied at segregated schools until her 11th grade year. At this point in her life she had to leave school to take care of her sick grandmother and mother. Parks then began working in a shirt factory in Montgomery.

In 1932 Rosa Parks married Raymond Parks who was an active member of the NAACP. After tons of support Parks went back to school and got her high school diploma. Afterwards she became a secretary and youth leader for the Montgomery NAACP chapter, while continuing her job as a seamstress in a department store in Montgomery. On December 1, 1955, Parks rode the bus sitting next to three other African Americans, heading home after leaving work. When a white man asked them to give up their seat so he can sit down Parks refused and was arrested. A boycott of Montgomery buses was held December 5, 1955 which was the day of Parks trial. She was found guilty and fined $14. This sparked car pooling and walking as the boycott continued for 381 days.

In 1956 the decision was madeona9to0votetoend segregation on buses. Afterwards it was difficult for Parks to find work, due to her political beliefs, in turn she moved to Detroit, Michigan. By 1965 she worked for Congressman John Conyers until 1988 when she retired. She started the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, in memory of her late husband, educating young children on the Civil Rights Movement, and providing them with tools needed for a brighter future. Parks also did public speaking, and advocating for change.

Rosa Parks died on October 24, 2005, and was honored by being laid in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Parks left behind a legacy of change, and also 24 honored.


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