By: Tahier Seid.
“Why don’t you stand up?” The bus driver demanded, Rosa Parks responded by saying “I don’t think I should have to stand.” The bus driver called the police and had her arrested for the violation of chapter 6, section 11 of the Montgomery city code. Which required all public transportation be segregated and that the bus drivers had power of the police officers of that city while in charge of any bus. These images of Rosa parks are when she was arrested on December 1, 1955 on her way home from work. She had refused to give up her seat for white passengers, since all the seats for whites were taken, three African Americans had given their seats up, but Rosa Parks had refused to. Once the police were called she was forced off the bus and taken to prison. She was eventually found guilty and fine of ten dollars plus a four dollar fine. Rosa Parks had fought for our rights to sit in the front of the bus and we as African Americans sit in the back of the bus and we are in the year 2015.
This was significant to me to because growing I thought it was cool to sit in the back of all sources of transportation. I would always see the older kids sit in the rear of the buses and it seemed like they were having a good time. One day I was on the bus on the way to school with my mother, we had sat in the 3rd row of seats and I noticed how this old white lady looked at us like we weren’t supposed to seat there. But as I grew older and had learned about Rosa Parks and what she had done, I began sitting in the front few seats of busses. I selected these images because I felt a connection in what she and Blacks were fighting for in the 1950’s, which was civil rights. I related to this because here on the University of Washington campus and in American, we are having to protest and have to fight for rights all over again. Here on campus I attended the Black Lives Matter protest in which we protested through campus in solidarity with Missouri students and things happening in our communities and schools. Also because of her resistance to racial segregation and how we today are showing our resistance to institutional racism here on campus and throughout America. As president Barack Obama said “In a single moment, with the simplest of gestures. She helped change America and change the world”. Talking about Rosa Parks and how at that moment when she decided to not give up her seat, she decided to fight for her civil rights. I was drawn in how she was willing to sacrifice and get arrested rather than give into the Jim Crow laws in place in Montgomery Alabama.
This time period was significant to African Americans because it was the civil rights movement era where there were Jim Crow laws and African Americans were willing to fight for what was right. Nearly 100 years after the emancipation proclamation was signed African Americans had inhabited an unequal world of disenfranchisement, segregation, and other various forms of systematic oppression. Jim Crow laws which had enforced separate but equal throughout America. This was a time where African Americans had to stand up against all the laws in place to suppress and oppression them. In August of 1955 an African American teen named Emmett Till was brutally murdered after being accused of hollering at a white women at a corner store. This time period was significant because African Americans demonstrated unity and determination the black community, which inspired blacks throughout America. Eventually this was the time period in which there were many changes impact African Americans today, like the desegregation of schools, rights to vote and basic civil rights.
Rosa Parks called “the first lady of civil rights” by the United States Congress played a significant role in the civil rights and Black Power movement. From a small gesture of refusing to give up her seat for a white passenger, she had changed the world for the better. I believe that Rosa Parks sit in was the beginning of the civil rights movement because it was that jump start the civil rights, and black power movements. There were many before Rosa Parks who had refused to give up their seats for white passengers, but they didn’t fit the criteria of the right person they were looking for. Rosa Parks born Rosa Louise McCauley she was the right person because of her resistance to racial segregation and in 1943 she served as chapters youth leader for NAACP, and She was also the secretary to president of the NAACP Edgar D. Nixon. This gesture led to a city wide boycott of all sources of transportation in Montgomery, in efforts to end segregation. During the Montgomery bus boycott organizations like the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) was established and Martin Luther King Jr. a newcomer was elected president. This was a pivotal moment for MLK because this brought into the national spotlight and focus the attention on racial segregation in the south.
The significance doesn’t change over time because the Montgomery bus boycott began on December 5, 1955 and ended on December 20, 1956. Making the boycott one of the largest and most successful mass movements against racial segregation in history. Lasting a little over a year 381 days the Montgomery bus boycott had a huge impact on the desegregation of busses. The US Supreme Court’s decision in Browder V. Gayle that declared the laws requiring segregation of buses in Alabama and Montgomery were unconstitutional. All this because an African American women had refused to give up her seat, along with the NAACP, MIA, and MLK had made this possible.
Throughout the quarter I have learned a lot about the system that has been in place since slavery, to oppress and hold the African American people down, from debt peonage’s, black codes, Jim Crow, and subprime loans. Rosa Parks sit in is related to many things we have learned in the course because it made a powerful statement that blacks were tired and were ready to resist the systematic oppression. The centrist were groups and people who wanted to achieve full citizenship rights, equality, and integration into all aspects of American life. There were a series of events that had occurred subsequently to Rosa Parks like the Montgomery Bus boycott, emergence of Martin Luther King Jr., and many others civil rights leaders. Learned about how MLK influences had impacted the civil rights Movement, which began with Rosa Parks. The freedom riders of 1961 was another power statement made during the civil rights movement because blacks and whites came together to end segregation throughout America. Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee (SNCC) they got on greyhounds and sat next to each and blacks in the front of the buses throughout Virginia, the Carolina’s, Georgia, and Alabama. As the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was established under the leadership of MLK and Montgomery Improvement Association was one of the founding organizations of SCLC. Martin Luther King Jr. impacts comes into place because of his ideology of nonviolent civil disobedience, which led to the march on Washington where he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
- “Rosa Parks Biography.”com. A&E Networks Television. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.
- “Civil Rights Movement.”com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.
- Pittman, LaShawnDa. (2015). The Second Reconstruction. https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/98
- “1960.”Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement. Bruce Hartford. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.