Rosa Parks

An American activist known for her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott

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Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist who became known by a simple act that changed the history of African-American people in the U.S. She was born in 1913, when racial segregation was happening all over the U.S. under the rule of “separate but equal”. This meant African-Americans and white people would supposedly have the same rights and they could use all the public services, but separately. For example, public places would spatially be divided into two parts, one for the white people and the other half for Afro-Americans. Even though the idea was to treat everyone equally, white people would normally be more privileged, having the biggest areas, being first, coming through the front doors of the places, or even being more supported by superiors such as police officers, judges or politicians.

Rosa Parks started the Montgomery Bus Boycott, led by Martin Luther King, by standing out for herself when the driver of the bus she was in asked her to move from the seat she was in order to let a white person sit down. At that moment she was in a seat assigned for colored people, and the request was for her to let a white person sit down while she had to stand up. As she said, she was tired of giving in, so she got arrested for not doing what she was told, even though nowadays it is seen as she was in her right to say no.

The same day of Park’s trial, 5 December, 1955, the African-American community decided not to use buses. From that day, thousands of African-Americans in the U.S. decided not to use public transports where segregation was made, and for more than a year, black people walked, took cabs or buses that belonged to African-American companies to move around.  This movement led to the end of segregation on public means of transport.

A simple act triggered a huge movement that helped the African- American community mostly in the South of the U.S. at that moment. If it had not been for her courage, probably segregation would have last much longer and we would be living different circumstances nowadays. She set example and fought for civil rights, and thanks to the powerful meaning of her acts, black people were one step closer to being treated equally to white ones. Rosa Parks became a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement.