Rosa Parks and the Bus Boycott
By Britny M.
Florida, Age 15
Rosa Louis Parks lived in Montgomery, Alabama. Her name before she was married was Rosa Louis McCauley. She was born on February 4, 1913. She was living with her mother, Leona Edward McCauley on her grandma and grandpa’s farm. She also lived with her brother named Sylvester. In early 1953 she worked as a tailor's helper at a local store. She lived with her parents at the time. She just got off work and she got on the city bus. It was obvious that something had to be done in order to stop the unfair treatment of blacks on the city buses. The segregated seating policies on public buses had long been a source of resentment within the black community in Montgomery and in other cities throughout the Deep South and she automatically had noticed the front of the bus said “Whites only” she sat down in the back where the colored’s were supposed to sit well the front of the bus filled and soon white people had to sit in the back. African-American riders were expected to surrender their seat to a white bus rider if it was needed. When a white male passenger and the driver asked her and three other people she did not know to get up she refused while the others complied. She did not know it at the time, but this courageous act would lead to a 382 day bus boycott and the desegregation of buses throughout the United States. From that point on she was known as the ''mother of the civil rights movement''.
After she refused to give her seat up to a white man the bus driver had called the police and she was arrested and put in jail with a one-hundred dollar bond. Rosa was forty-two years old when she refused to give up her seat to a white and in those days blacks were considered inferior. Rosa also claimed she wasn’t tired and she didn’t plan on getting arrested she was just by her own testimony. She was tried and convicted of violating a local ordinance. She lost her job and couldn’t find another after she was arrested. Rosa Parks was convicted by the local court. She refused to pay the fine of fourteen dollars. Mr. E.D. Nixon, one of the leaders of the NAACP got in touch with a white lawyer named Clifford Durr. She appealed to the circuit court with the help of her lawyer.
That act of bravery sparked a boycott of the bus system by blacks that lasted more than a year. Within twenty-four hours of Rosa Park’s defiance, the Women’s Political Counsel had distributed more than fifty-two thousand fliers announcing the bus boycott, which was to take place the day of Rosa Park’s trial. The Montgomery bus boycott was an immediate success, with the support from the fifty-thousand blacks in Montgomery. The boycott raised a name Martin Luther King, Jr. to national speech and resulted in the United States Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation on city buses. Television cameras followed Mrs. Parks on December 21, 1956 as she posed in the front seat of a Montgomery bus. Over the next 40 years she helped Americans be aware of the civil rights struggle. Parks has received numerous awards and tributes, in 1943 she became a member of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, and she served as its secretary until 1956. In 1999 Parks was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, the highest honor a civilian can receive in the United States. Parks earned a NAACP's Spingarn Medal in 1979. In 1987 she founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development, a career counseling center for black youth. She was a great contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. Rosa Parks passed away in her home of Detroit on October 24, 2005. Parks body lay in state in the United States capitol; she was the first African-American woman in America who was given such an honor.