Rosa Parks “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” By Emily Landry
Introduction Birth Date: February 4, 1913 Birth Place: Tuskegee, Alabama Marital Status: Rosa Parks married Raymond Parks On December 1932 Date Of Death: October 24, 2005 Burial Place: Detroit, Michigan Offspring: No children
Social Contribution Many people say that Rosa Parks saved a nation from itself. On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks was arrested for disobeying an Alabama law. Rosa refused to get out of her seat and move to the back of the bus she was riding, for a white. Rosa’s arrest caused a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system. This incident led to the Supreme Court of banning segregation on public transportation. For 381 days Rosa parks and Martin Luther King Jr. led African Americans to freedom, starting with the bus boycott. During the boycott, Rosa and her husband Raymond both lost their jobs. Rosa was frequently asked to speak in places such as New York, San Francisco, and the Highlander School. After the boycott ended, Rosa was awarded many awards such as the Rosa parks Peace Prize in 1994, the U.S. Medal of Freedom in 1996, and two-dozen honorary doctorates from universities around the world. Rosa Parks continued with her work in segregation after the boycott and is now called “The Mother of Civil Rights.” Together African Americans had challenged a law and changed the course of history. Rosa Parks was the one to show them how.
Childhood During Rosa’s childhood she had many struggles. Segregation was always very hard on Rosa. In Tuskegee , Alabama, Rosa and her younger brother Sylvester went to an all black school. This school consisted of grades 1-6 and there was only one teacher. Rosa and Sylvester and all of the other colored children were let out of school earlier than the whites. This happened because the blacks had to weed the cotton seedlings in the spring to get money for their family. Rosa was always a year behind in school because she would frequently get tonsillitis. Everyday on Rosa and Sylvester’s way to school the white bus would drive past and the children would shout nasty taunts at Rosa and Sylvester. Where her family lived there was white men in a clan called the Ku Klux Klan. They would go around hanging blacks and burning down their houses. These people made Rosa’s grandfather very unhappy and scared Rosa.
Adolescence Age 11: Rosa was the “new girl” at the Montgomery Industrial School for Girls. At this school white women taught black girls how to act properly and how to sew, cook, and clean. Rosa grew up as a shy teenager sewing for whites and helping around the house with her many cousins. In 9th grade Rosa attended the Booker T. Washington Junior High School Rosa switched schools again in 10th grade and attended a laboratory school to learn more about sewing In the 1929 depression, Rosa got a job as a seamstress at a nice white lady’s home. Rosa became best friends with this lady. Rosa met Raymond Parks when she was eighteen. Rosa learned that Parks was involved in a activist group called the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Adulthood Rosa Parks adulthood contained many events. Some very scary and others when she was proud. In 1933, 21 year old Rosa got her high school diploma. Rosa joined NAACP as the secretary and was also the leader of a youth group at her church. One day on Rosa’s way home on the bus she refused to give up her seat for a white man. Rosa was arrested for this event, but her friends and family bailed her out of jail. At court, Rosa was said to be guilty for breaking the Jim Crow Laws. The NAACP then started the Montgomery bus boycott and the blacks stayed off the buses for a year and sixteen days. The law changed after that and blacks were allowed to sit anywhere on the buses. In 1957, Rosa, her mother, and Raymond moved to Detroit, Michigan because the whites kept threatening Rosa and Raymond. One day after Rosa gave a speech in Boston, a man offered Rosa a job running a dining room at the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia. When Rosa told her family, Raymond and Rosa’s mother both didn’t want to move again, so Rosa left by herself.
Adulthood(cont.) Rosa became very depressed when she heard her friend, Martin Luther King Jr., was stabbed by a white woman, while signing books. Martin fortunately did not die. Rosa moved back to Detroit after a while because she missed her family. Back in Detroit, Rosa joined the Saint Matthew AME Church and was a Sunday School teacher. Several years later Rosa was asked to be a deaconess. A deaconesses job is to weave connections between the church and people. This is the highest honor a women can get at a AME Church. Rosa also became active in the local Southern Christian Leadership Council. Martin Luther King Jr. asked all of the blacks to prepare for “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” This march was going to be the biggest civil rights march ever. They first marched a smaller march in Detroit to make sure the bigger march would be safe for them. Martin died on April, 4 1968, after the big march.
Adulthood(Cont.) In 1968, Rosa was asked to work in John Conyers office. In the early 1970’s Rosa learned that Raymond, her mother, and her brother Sylvester all had cancer. In 1977, Raymond died, three months later Sylvester died and in 1979 her mother died. Rosa created the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development to help inner-city children in 1987. Teenagers signed up to learn leadership skills for a full year. They learned how to reach out to their community and practice community activism. Every year a busload of teens got to go on a “Pathway’s To Freedom” trip all around North America where battles for civil rights had been fought. Rosa went on these trips as often as she could. Together Rosa and Jim Haskins wrote I Am Rosa Parks and Quiet Strength
Adulthood(Cont.) When Rosa was 81, a young black man got into her apartment and tricked her. He demanded that he should get a couple of dollars for chasing away a robber, which was a lie. When Rosa went upstairs to get her purse, the man followed her and threw the weak old woman to her bed and punched poor Rosa in the face many times. He left with all of the money Rosa owned: $103 and left Rosa on the bed, bleeding and crying. In the summer of 1996 Rosa made her last “Pathways To Freedom” trip. President Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. On June 6, 1996 President Clinton awarded her the Congressional Gold Medal Of Honor. In 2005, Rosa Parks died sleeping in her home in Detroit and was buried with her family in Detroit. (Rosa Parks coffin)
President Woodrow Wilson Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States. Wilson served from March 4, 1913 to March 3, 1921. Wilson brought many white southerners into his administration and tolerated their expansion of segregation. Barack Obama Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States. Obama is the first black president. Since Rosa Parks, America has come a long way. Back in 1913, when Rosa was born, whites wanted nothing to do with the Negros and the Negros were treated unfairly. Rosa helped to change the world, and now look at where America is. America has its first black president. Years ago the Negros weren’t even allowed to drink out of a water fountain. God Bless Rosa Parks: For she has changed our country greatly.
Interview If I had the chance to interview Rosa Parks I would ask her: When you were a child, why did you feel the need to stick up to white children when you knew you could be in danger? Were you ever afraid the world would be segregated forever? Did you have any heroes, people you admired, or looked up to?
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