Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Great Woman of the Civil Rights Movement: ROSA PARKS by Courtney Z. Knight

On February 4, 1913 Rosa Louise McCauley was born in Tuskegee, Alabama. She was named after her maternal grandmother, Rose. Instead of 'e' at the end it's Rosa with an 'a'. Her parents were James McCauley and Leona Edward McCauley. James, Rosa father went North when Rosa was a toddler. Leona, Rosa's mother was pregant with Rosa's' brother Sylvester so she stayed in the South. Rosa's mother became a teacher in a another town so she moved her children to Pine Level to live with her parents while she was teaching. The last 2 times Rosa saw her father was when she was 5 and when she was grown and married. Rosa was home schooled by her mother for a little while because schools for black kids in Pine Level only went up to sixth grade. So when Rosa completed her education in Pine Level at the age 11, her mother put her in Montgomery's Industrial School for Girls (a.k.a. Ms. White's School for Girls). This school was run by white Quaker women who believed that all people were equal.

There were Jim Crow Laws segregating the South and that made Rosa's life hard. Jim Crow laws kept whites separated from blacks and were meant to make whites believe they were better than blacks. It was harder than we can imagine because black people were beaten, lynched, and burned to death by the KKK(ku klux Klan) and mistreated by most whites. Even though slavery was over most black people still did house chores and picked cotton for white people. There were signs that said "whites only" and "colored" every where. At restaurants, on buses, in movie theaters, water fountains, etc. And white sections were always nice and clean. While the blacks sections was always dirty.
While in high school Rosa met a man named Raymond Parks who was a barber. Everyone called him Parks for short. Parks would come to Rosa's house with flowers and asking for a date but Rosa was very shy. Parks kept coming back until Rosa said yes. Parks and Rosa dated for a while and later they were married.
One day Rosa's' mother saw a picture of Rosa's' High School best friend, Johnnie in the newspaper and it said she was an NAACP worker in Montgomery. The NAACP is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Rosa Parks went to one of the meetings to surprise her friend and the members asked her to become a member and volunteer to be the secretary. She said "yes". Mr. Parks helped fight for equality too but he didn't join the NAACP.
December 1, 1955 was the night Rosa made history. After work Mrs Parks did a little shopping & went to Lee's Cut Rate Drug Store to get aspirin for her body aches; she had been at work on her feet all day. She was seamstress at a major department store, Montgomery Fair. Three stops after Mrs. Parks boarded the bus, a white man boarded the bus. All the white seats where full so he was left standing. According to Jim Crow Laws if the white section of the bus was full the blacks had to get up and move further back to make more space for the white passengers. Mrs. Parks was sitting in the first row of the black section with other black people. The other black passengers got up and moved to the back. Rosa Parks stayed seated. The bus driver told her to get up but Mrs. Parks said, "No". This was the same driver who had thrown her off of a bus 12 years before & she was tired. Tired of the oppression of black people. Mrs. Park had known and suffered this oppression her whole life. Mrs. Parks was arrested. A white couple Virginia & Clifford Durr helped get Rosa Parks out of jail. They talked to the police officers at the police station because the officers wouldn't talk to Mr. Parks because he was black. Mr. Parks came and E.D.Nixon (President of the NAACP in Montgomery) bailed Rosa out. A group of ministers including, Dr. Martin Luther King met to decide how they would fight this injustice.
They knew that the majority of the bus riders in Montgomery were blacks so they decided to have a boycott. This meant that no black people would ride the buses. The boycott started on the first day of Rosa Parks' trial. Black people walked to work, school, stores, church, EVERYWHERE. Finally on November 13, 1956 the US Supreme Court ruled that segregation on the Montgomery buses was against the US Constitution. On December 20, 1956 the Supreme Court sent papers to Montgomery ordering the buses to treat blacks and whites equal. The boycott lasted for one year and 16 days. On December 21, 1956 black people started riding the buses again and sat any where they wanted to!
Mrs. Parks continued to fight for equality in the world because she knew the JIM CROW LAWS of segregation were UNFAIR to the black community. There were only a few nice white folks she knew at all in her life time.
And that is why I have chosen Mrs. Rosa Parks as my African-American female hero.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Courtney,
WELL DONE!!!! Your repoert on Rosa Park is very impressive. Keep up the good work.

Erika Taylor

Josephine Lawrence said...

Well done. Your report was excellennt. Continue to as well all classes and class assignments.
Aunt Joe

Tony Morgan said...

VERY GOOD JOB! I liked your attention to details. I learned a thing or two. Keep up the good work.

Grandpa

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