Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement
Representative Conyers once boasted, ‘“Rosa was a true giant of the civil rights movement. . . Her bravery, fortitude and perseverance in the face of discrimination served as the very touchstone of the civil rights movement”’ (Boyd, 2005 p. 43). Rosa Parks grew up during a time when the color of a person’s skin defined who they were and how they were treated. Parks had no intention of becoming the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,” she was just an ordinary, common, every-day seamstress (Boyd, 2005 p. 42). But Parks was an honorable woman who stood up and fought for civil rights for African Americans.
In 2006 Wade-Lewis wrote about her memories growing up around Rosa Parks during the segregation. She retells how her family always had to use the bathroom at their house before road trips, never knowing if a “colored” one would be found on the way. They had separate water fountains and the “colored” one was usually lower and did not contain cold water. Schooling was another issue, they had typewriters and books but they were worn and broken. Colored students were informed by their teachers that they would have to “work twice as hard for half the credit.”
Parks began attending a segregated elementary school in 1918 at age five and enrolled in a private school in 1924 known as “Miss White’s Industrial School for Girls,” which had a black student body and a white teaching staff (Chronology, 2012). The goal of this school was to “provide an education as well as a sense of pride to their students during a time of racial segregation.” The head of the school required that all be based upon religion and “antisegregation views,” even if their white community did not approve of it (Harmon, 2007).
In an interview Parks recalled ‘”Back then, we didn’t have civil rights. It was just a matter of survival, or existing from one day to the next’” (Biography, 2013). With few blacks being able to become educated, Parks was of the minority of the 7% who from graduated high school in 1933. She had always wanted to be a teacher like her mother and continued on to college at the Alabama State Teachers College (Schleier, 2000). In 1943, Parks became the secretary for the NAACP, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which was founded back in 1909 (Chronology, 2013). Their goal was to eliminate the racial prejudice that surrounded them; they strived for equality in all aspects of their lives. Even with the Declaration of Independence stating that “All men are created equal,” blacks were to be considered less than human.
According to McBride in 1896, during the Plessy v. Ferguson case, schools could legally segregate students as long as they were treated equally. But like stated before, blacks were never treated the same as whites, which led to the case of Brown v. Board of Education. In this case a parent of a black child announced that the “racial segregation violated the...