Rosa Lee Parks


This month I nominate Rosa Parks into the Justice Hall of
Fame. She was a black civil rights advocate. She was born
on Feb. 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Ala., and is still alive
today. Parks briefly attended Alabama State Teacher
College, which is now known as Alabama State University.
She later moved to Montgomery, Ala., where, on her way home
from work one day in 1955, she was told by a bus driver to
give up her seat for a white man. Back then blacks were
required, by law, to sit in separate rows than whites on
the bus. Parks violated this law, therefore, was arrested
and fined. She refused to give up her seat in the middle of
the bus when a white person wanted to sit in her row. The
front rows were for whites only. The law required blacks to
leave middle rows when all seats in the front rows were
taken and whites wanted to sit in the middle. Parks arrest
motivated local black leaders to take action. Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr., led a boycott of the bus company that
lasted more than a year. Resistance to black demands for
the desegregation of Montgomery's buses was finally
overcome when the Supreme Court ruled in November 1956 that
the segregation of public transportation facilities was
unconstitutional. The city government then agreed to
unsegregated busing. The boycott involved the blacks who
took the bus to stop doing so. Instead of using the bus
they car pooled, walked, or rode a bike. The Montgomery
boycott was very successful and made King widely known. It
also led to mass protests demanding civil rights for
blacks. Because of this, Parks is sometimes called the
mother of the modern civil rights movement and was a symbol
of the power of non-violent action. Parks was a seamstress
and lost her job as a result of the Montgomery protest. She
moved to Detroit in 1957. In 1967, she joined the Detroit
staff of John Conyers, Jr., a Democratic member of the U.S.
House of Representatives. I picked Rosa Parks to be in the
Justice Hall of Fame because she played a big part in
helping blacks to get their rights. By violating the Jim
Crow statutes, she sparked a yearlong black boycott of the
city buses. It also served notice throughout the South that
blacks would no longer submit meekly to the absurdities and
indignities of segregation. Parks knew that what she was
doing was against the law and she would be arrested. This
did not matter to her. Parks, like many other blacks, was
tired of the treatment they received from whites. What
separated her from those other blacks was that she had the
courage and bravery to take action. Parks used her right
from the first amendment stating freedom of speech. She
demonstrated this right in a non-violent way which led to a
bigger non-violent boycott led by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rosa Parks may have lost her job because of her actions,
but she gained something much greater. She gained the
respect and admiration from fellow black Americans, and
even some whites. She started the civil rights movements
that ended segregation on buses and also sparked reactions
by others to coordinate further civil rights actions.
Because of Parks courage, the Southern Christian Leadership
Council established the Rosa Parks Freedom Award in her
honor. In 1979, she won the NAACP'S Springarn Medal. Rosa
Parks definitely changed history. Without her, who knows
how America would have turned out. Today there may still be
segregation or unjust laws against blacks. Rosa Parks
should be in the Justice Hall of Fame because she showed
justice by bringing justice to this country. That's why she
is known as the "mother of the civil rights movement." 


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