Rosa Parks and Her Contribution to Civil Rights

Many people know of the incident that happened with Rosa parks in 1955, when a white bus driver instructed Rosa to stand up to let the white people boarding the bus sit down. The people around her obeyed James F. Blake’s command and stood up, however, Parks didn’t. Rosa Parks was a very crucial part of the Civil Rights Movement. She was an active member of the NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), refused getting up from her seat on the bus, and helped with organizing the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Rosa Parks was a part of the NAACP, which helped her to be an important part of the Civil Rights Movement. She believed that all people should have equal rights, which would justify why she was a part of the organization. Her incident on the bus started a huge movement and was the spark that set off the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The NAACP said that, “She had been a knowledgeable NAACP stalwart for many years, and gave the organization the incident it needed to move against segregation…” [1] Parks was the push that the organization needed to become active in the Civil Rights Movement, and be an active part of what was happening in the South. In 1932 she married Raymond Parks, and then later she got a position at the NAACP. In the book, The Montgomery Bus Boycott by Sabrina Crewe and Frank Walsh, on page 15 it stated that,“Rosa married a Montgomery barber named Raymond Parks, who was a member of the NAACP…in 1943 she became secretary of the Montgomery branch of the NAACP.”[2] Rosa was elected Secretary of the NAACP, and it was not a big job, but it was the job she received because she was the only woman there. Even though Rosa was discouraged from joining the organization she still achieved her goals and became a part of the NAACP. In the novel  Freedom’s Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of The Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970, on page 97, it is stated that, “Raymond Parks had long discouraged her from joining the NAACP– too dangerous for a woman, he said… she payed her membership dues, [and] was elected secretary on spot.”[3] Rosa started by taking time for the men in the NAACP, even if she was discouraged by her husband but then she was almost instantly promoted to secretary, because she was the only woman in the group.

When Parks didn’t get up from her seat on the bus she caused a chain reaction in society and helped set off things like the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Many people believe that Rosa was too tired to get up from her seat, after a long hard day at work. But, according to the NAACP, “Contrary to the folkloric accounts of her civil rights role, Mrs. Parks was not too tired to move from her seat.” [4] Parks believed that people should have equal rights, and she shouldn’t be denied her seat on the bus. Also, at the time Parks was still in the “black’s section” of the bus. Rosa was not in fact the first African American to do this but because she was active in civil rights work and, “four days before the boycott began, Rosa Parks…refused to yield her seat to a white man on a Montgomery bus.”[5] She started the Montgomery Bus Boycott because of what happened with her. Her history with civil rights had helped her, “Although Parks has sometimes been depicted as a woman with no history of civil rights activism at the time of her arrest, she and her husband, Raymond (1903-77), were, in fact, active in the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.”[6] Her history had helped her in the situation that she was in. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was sparked from the incident that happened with Rosa on the bus, and she helped organize it. Every person of color was informed not to take the bus, and to either walk or take a taxi driven by a person of color that would have charged a fare of 10 cents just like the bus.

Parks did many things for Civil Rights. She not only did the things she was famous for but she helped out with other things too. One things she did was she participated in the NAACP. She, “had been a knowledgeable NAACP stalwart for many years.” [1]She had gotten a secretary job and did things for the organization. Also after her arrest she was arrested along with many others for organizing transportation for people participating in the boycott. On February 21, 1956, “a grand jury handed down indictments against Parks and dozens of others for violating a state law against organized boycotting. She and 114 others were arrested.”[7] Parks helped organizing things with many other people for boycotting and then was arrested for doing that. Rosa also founded The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development with one of her friends. The organization, runs “‘Pathways to Freedom’ bus tours, introducing young people to important civil rights and Underground Railroad sites throughout the country.”[8] She helped kids understand things that affected them in the place they lived in. She helped out with many things other than the things she was famous for.


Rosa Parks was famous for so many things she did in Civil Rights and all the things she did for the NAACP and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She changed many things in society even though she may not have been famous for all of the things she had done. She helped even after she had moved away from Montgomery, Alabama.

 

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