Rosa Parks

"Stand for something or you will fall for anything."

Rosa Parks in Essence

  • Born February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee Alabama
  • She was raised by mostly her Grandparents
  • Won many awards for being a civil rights activist
  • Motivated by the Jim Crow laws that basically was discrimination
  • led the Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • worked with Congressman John Conyers in Detroit until 1988 when she retired
  • Mother and Husband died of cancer
  • co-founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development for Detroit Youth
  • wrote an autobiography "Rosa Parks:My Story"
  • Died October 24,2005


Rosa was raised by her mother and Grandparents, because her mother left her dad. She grew up in the deep South where racism was rampant and life was tough for African American citizens. Her main influences would be her family, church and Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. Her grandfather influenced her by teaching Rosa the preaching of Marcus Garvey an African American orator that said that Africans should be proud and direct descendant from God. In addition, as child, her mother taught her the saying "Audemus Jura Nostra Defendere" which meant we dare defend our rights; this saying gave her the motivation to defend herself and others from discrimination and racism. Rosa was always eager to go to church and reading Psalm 23 and 27 made her feel sorry for white people and their view as a child. Her faith also made her in image as a humble, christian woman that gave her credit, during the movement. Finally, because of his preaching as a christian pastor, civil rights advocate and close relationship, Rosa soon became influenced by Martin Luther King Jr. Though working for E.D Nixon at first, she shifted toward Martin, because he saw her as an equal and his preaching was true to what she believed in. The motivation was that the segregation issue was effecting not only Rosa, but the entire African American population of the U.S.. She always said that she was not too tired to stand on the bus that day but tired of giving in, and that exactly motivated her to become an activist.

Different Time Period

If Rosa Parks was born in a different time period like the 21st century, I do not think she would as successful as she was in the 1950's (taking in to account that in this alternate time period that things are the sames as right now). In the 1950's the blossoming of desegregation was happening, because of things like the integration of Rock n' Roll in mainstream media and other African American things in mainstream media in general; Rosa Parks was a huge impact on this part of the equal rights movement and since, segregation by race is not a prevalent issue in today's society, her impact definitely be as big. If you think about her famous moment on the bus, but set in modern times, there's a whole new perspective you could spin off it. In this hypothetical situation, the bus driver telling an old lady to move to a further seat would cause other passengers to be angered and bring to bus driver and not Rosa. If I had Rosa skills like dedication, bravery and a confident speech deliverer, I would try to make social impacts like Rosa did. Throughout my research of Rosa Parks, I felt personally connected to her in the difference of treatment, because of being a minority and I felt that she portrayed a lot of what still needs to be done in America. I would try to make an even playing field for all people no make race, gender, sexuality and other things, because all that matters is work ethic and other things of such nature. It should not matter whether you are pretty or not, man or not, white or not and other things to determine a decision. I would want to make the same social impact on the world just like she did.
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Political Cartoon: Progress?

On the left is Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. not allowed in a restaurant, because of the separate, but equal decree and the color of their skin. On the right is a gay couple not allowed in to a restaurant because of the Religious Freedom Law that states businesses don not have to serve people, if against their religion which. The similarity between the two government decrees are uncanny and I feel that history is repeating itself with LGBT youth, especially with this new law instated in Mississippi. Though not a nation wide law, I could see it getting out of hand. Both situations parallel each other almost to a tee with the exception of the era and the people being discriminated. In addition, I made the color the people, because metaphorically and physically they represent color like African Americans are people of color and LGBT population use the rainbow to symbolize themselves; everything else is black and white for the dull, narrow views they represent.
Rosa Parks
Who Rosa Parks Was, Not Just What She Meant

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The author's tone throughout the article can be described as passionate. She described Rosa Parks as someone being beyond the women who sat on the bus and use documents to back up her reasoning. In addition, the quotes the author gathered from numerous sources related to Ms.Parks gave the sense that not only she believed in her message, but many other people do too. The article has a calming air to it that can makes the reader feel that the author is not aggressively advocating for her reasons thus making the article, itself, more approachable to a broader audience. Visually, documents are included like a receipt and personal letter to justify her reasoning. The sense the author did not agree with the withholding of these documents is prominent in the way she quotes a close college of Parks of him saying 'its a crime"; earlier in the article, it talks about how the letters can be interpreted as Parks wanting to show her true self and not just being the lady who sat on the bus. In essence, the article's outside message is that people are more than just one event, but a whole life of events showing who they truly are.

Parks as an Activist

  • Her cause was equality for African Americans and civil rights in general.
  • Lived with segregation since birth, so felt that everyone should be treated equally, especially with her faithfulness to Christianity and the Bible.
  • Really initiated when she started to work with Daniel Nixon at the NAACP.
  • Motivated by the social injustice in society like exclusion and different treatment, because of skin and sex.
  • Through her act of civil disobedience on the bus, she managed to eventually accomplish the desegregation of buses. Though a small step, it caused a huge wave of influence across the world.
  • Because of her actions in turn, she inspired people like Nelson Mandela to rebel against the apartheid and Kofi Annan, a future Secretary General of the U.N.
  • She continued her movement by initiating the Bus Boycott with E.D. Nixon as a way to beat the unequal treatment of buses and eventually the nation.
  • Broke the law on December 1st,1955 by not moving from her bus seat which was in the neutral section of the bus, but still found guilty. This situation what got her fame and justice. Though many did it before she did, she had a pure aura about her which landed her as the humble lady who stood up for what's right.
  • She sacrificed her privacy and family life. When she became known, she was harassed by many people from subtle anger to extreme rage like people telling her to die. In addition, her husband was fired form his job after his boss forbade him to mention Rosa or anything related to Rosa. As a result, he later suffered with substance abuse and because of her absences from her family, due to her efforts, she came home to her severely ill mother. In addition, she sacrificed her security, because of her huge impact she received death threats and was constantly fearful of the KKK.
  • Most likely, she would have still adopted the equal rights cause for minorities and women. Though she stood for African Americans, she also stood for women. Some of her closest colleagues in the beginning of her journey , ultimately, saw her as a tool in the end. In addition, she attended this convention for women, later in her life, and only two women spoke during the convention, and she felt this was wrong. For these reasons, I think she would stand for women's rights, because it's still a struggle today. In addition, there have been race protest lately like Ferguson and other rallies and Rosa would participate for this cause like she did during the 50's.

American Experience

Rosa Parks was a lady of purpose and meaning. She never did anything unnecessary or wasteful in her. Throughout, she sought to help people, but, not only, African Americans, but women, as well. She felt it her duty as an African American and a woman to help people, because she was taught to always defend her rights as a person. Her impact on the civil rights movement inspired people across the world to defend there civil rights like Rosa did. She gave people the courage to stand up for what is right and not back down from their beliefs. Though she struggled with finances and security, making it through all those troubles proves Rosa to be a person of admiration. Her admiration should not just stem from her one moment on the bus, but her actions and thoughts before and after the incident. Before reading the book Rosa Parks and researching her, I thought her life was somewhat of a cakewalk, because I had the perceived notion that since, she was famous that life was bad, but not as awful as reality showed me. Her life showed me not to take a person's life for a grain of salt, and to really consider everything else going on in their life before I create preconceived judgement based upon face value. Rosa was truly a wonder woman capable of anything and everything like a super hero, and like all superheros she is one to be admired.