Imagine you are on your way home from work after a long day, and suddenly you are told you must give up your seat because someone hates you due to the color of your skin. This is exactly what happened to Rosa Parks on Dec. 1, 1955.
While Parks knew she was required by law to obey the bus driver, she was tired. She was not only physically tired from her day of work as a seamstress, but she was also tired of the fear she had known her whole life and of being subject to mistreatment due to her race. She refused to move from her seat, and in doing so, she stood up for the rights of all African-Americans; past, present and future.
Parks was subsequently arrested and charged with violating Montgomery’s segregation laws. Later that night after posting bail, Rosa consulted with family and friends and decided to challenge the segregation laws in court.
This sparked the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott led by Martin Luther King Jr., who had recently arrived in Montgomery. The boycott lasted over a year, ending only when a Supreme Court decision in Parks’ favor ended segregation on public transportation.
Today Rosa Parks is known as the “mother of the civil rights movement.” However, on that day in December she was simply a person who was tired of being treated like a second-class citizen.
Rosa Park’s decision to stay seated has affected American history for the better. No longer do we have separate but equal, and no longer are African-Americans treated like they are three-fifths of a person.
Today America has a black president. Today America has black congress persons, black businessmen and women, millionaires and doctors. Today we are much closer to true equality because one woman refused to get up from her seat and become another silent victim to an antiquated system of hatred and humiliation.