Early life of Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks Biography.
Rosa parks, famously known as “the first lady of civil rights” was born Rosa Louise McCauley on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. She was only 2 when her parents separated. Her father James McCauley was a carpenter whereas her mother Leona was a teacher when they both separated Leona took Rosa with her and went back to living with her parents in the “Pine level” which was just outside Montgomery their country’s capital. She grew up on a farm with her mother, grandparents and her younger brother Sylvester. In 1932, at age 19, Parks met and married Raymond Parks, a barber and an 0active member of the NAACP.
Where it all started
Both of her grandparents were strong advocates of racial equality as they once too were slaves themselves. In her early age, her childhood brought her much experience of racial injustice and inequality as former Confederate states had adopted new constitutions and electoral laws that effectively disenfranchised black voters. Racial segregation was also imposed in public facilities and retail stores in the South, including public transportation. Bus and train companies enforced seating policies such as separate sections for black and white people. Schools of black children were always underfunded facing problems like lack of basic equipment and necessary facilities. No transport of any sort or in any form were available for black children.
Parks recalled going to elementary school in Pine Level, where school buses took white students to their new school and black students had to walk to theirs:
“I’d see the bus pass every day … But to me, that was a way of life; we had no choice but to accept what was the custom. The bus was among the first ways I realized there was a black world and a white world”
Not only that her past memories also includes some extreme racist scenes where her grandfather stood in front of the his main door guarding the house with a shot gun as Ku Klux Klan (a white supremacist party famously known for targeting black American people) marched down the street from infront of their house. Rosa Parks Biography
Montgomery buses law
In 1900, Montgomery had passed a city ordinance to segregate bus passengers by race. In this the bus conductors were given the authority and power to assign the seats In order to achieve that goal. According to the law no passenger would have to stand or leave their seat if the buss got crowded because of excess passengers however the bus drivers of the Montgomery started following the practice where they would deprave black passengers of their seats if a white person required them which was against the law. Not only that, firs four rows were reserved for white people and and black would have their seats at the rear section, even though 75% of the ridership was composed solely black people even then they would get the leftover seats. They were not allowed to sit on the seats next to white and incase of a white person being onboard the black passengers were to enter from the front door to pay the fare and after it they were supposed to exit and enter again from the back door. They were even asked to leave the buss if there was not enough room for a new white passenger, the conductors sometimes would even remove the sign of black section from their bus if they felt like it and they would not be questioned.
Among many of Rosa park’s experiences one of them includes memory from one of her travels where she was asked to pay the fare in an insulting way and as soon as she got out to enter from the back the bus left without her.
The Arrest (Rosa Parks Biography)
After a long and tiring day of work she boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus, Thursday, around 6pm, December 1, 1955, in downtown Montgomery. Initially, she did not notice that the bus driver was the same man, James F. Blake, who had left her in the rain in 1943. In the midway all seats in the white peoples section got filled and on the third stop more white people boarded the bus. Blake noticed that there were three white passengers standing as there were lack of seats seeing that he came and asked four black people to give up their seats among which one was Rosa Parks, three of them gave their seats and stood up whereas she refused. Seeing her refuse Blake threatened to call the police and get her arrested on which she replied: “yes, you should do that”. After this she got arrested even though she had commit no crime. When Parks refused to give up her seat, a police officer arrested her. As the officer took her away, she recalled that she asked, “Why do you push us around?” She remembered him saying, “I don’t know, but the law’s the law, and you’re under arrest.” She later said, “I only knew that, as I was being arrested, that it was the very last time that I would ever ride in humiliation of this kind. …
Parks was charged with a violation of Chapter 6, Section 11 segregation law of the Montgomery City code,
In her autobiography, My Story, she said:
People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.
After she got out of the jail a large scale bus boycott was announced as they had realized that this had become an opportunity which should be properly used. On Sunday, December 4, 1955, plans for the Montgomery bus boycott were announced at black churches in the area, and a front-page article in the Montgomery Advertiser helped spread the word. At a church rally that night, those attending agreed unanimously to continue the boycott until they were treated with the level of courtesy they expected, until black drivers were hired, and until seating in the middle of the bus was handled on a first-come basis. Rosa Parks Biography
Death of Rosa Parks
Parks died of natural causes on October 24, 2005, at the age of 92, in her apartment on the east side of Detroit. She and her husband never had children and she outlived her only sibling. She was survived by her sister-in-law (Raymond’s sister), 13 nieces and nephews and their families, and several cousins, most of them residents of Michigan or Alabama.
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