Rosa Parks Spark Notes

This essay has a total of 1677 words and 6 pages.

Rosa Parks


By: Brooke McClain

Mcclain 1 The Summary 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 Mcclain 2 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 youth. An excellent feature of this Institute is the annual summer program, Pathway
to Freedom, for teenagers. The teenagers in the program trace the path of the Underground
Railroad, learning the history of the United States and of the Civil Rights Movement. For
all of her courage and achievements, Rosa has received many awards and honorary
doctorates, among the most notable the Spingarn Medal given by the NAACP, and the Martin
Luther King Jr., Nonviolent Peace Prize. In more recent years Parks has done anything but
give up on the fight for equality. Instead she has become a role model for young
Americans. She has written an autobiography entitled Quiet Strength, and spends most of
her days reading and responding to mail she receives "from students, politicians, and just
regular people". Mcclain 3 Early Influences In an interview I found on the internet Rosa
stated that her main influences in life were Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., her mother, her
grandparents, and society's youth. However, after doing research it became obvious to me
that her greatest influence, leading up to Dec. 1 of 1955 was society. Rosa was educated
and, like everyone else, exposed to the daily hardships that black Americans faced. It is
easy to understand how living in such hardship would have an influence on anyone, but Rosa
handled this hardship differently than most. Rather than concealing her views that blacks
were treated unfairly and letting them manifest into feelings of hatred or acts of
violence, she simply stood up for her belief that everyone should be treated equally. Of
course most black Americans that were raised during the same time that Rosa was felt the
same way she did, and others were also arrested for refusing to give up their seats on the
bus, but unlike Rosa they weren't as actively involved in fight for equality as Rosa was.
As mentioned before, Rosa was a member of the NAACP and the group saw this incident as a
window of opportunity to bring more attention to the issue of segregation. Being involved
in a group with a certain goal will no doubt make a person feel stronger and fight harder
for something. Rosa knew that she was not the only one who felt as though blacks were
treated unfairly. She was educated and understood that nothing would change until people
came together to make a statement. Many people, myself included, were taught that Rosa
Parks was just a tired seamstress who didn't want to give up her seat, but as she wrote in
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