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by: Sophia DiMartino


Rosa Parks & Her Words




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ARDSLEY              NEW YORK

Rosa Parks always knew that her world was different and unfair. She had to be an activist (noun a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change) to change that situation.She asked herself why are we being mistreated? She had to speak up for her people in order to get the respect she was supposed to get. She had to make many decisions about her safety in order to do this task. 

She was born in 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. At this time segregation(noun the action or state of setting someone or something apart from other people or things or being set apart.)was around. Suddenly, they moved to Pine Level, Alabama to start a new chapter and move on with their lives. Unexpectedly, their dad had left home for work but, never came back. Rosa parents had separated due to that.

Since Rosa was in Pine Level she started first grade in a one-room school for African Americans. While for the whites they were in a  newly built school with multiple rooms. Her whole city was discriminated due to Jim Crow.Jim made these Laws(noun the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.) that segregated blacks from whites. Many African Americans were mistreated due to the laws.Rosa had said,’’ I am tired of being treated like a second-class citizen.’’ Rosa and other African Americans were saying why do we have to be discriminated and not being treated equally? Furthermore, whites thought they were more superior than blacks due to these laws.

During the time Rosa was in Pine Level the Ku Klux Klan(noun U.S. History. a secret hate group in the southern U.S., active for several years after the Civil War, which aimed to suppress the newly acquired rights of black people and to oppose carpetbaggers from the North, and which was responsible for many lawless and violent proceedings.) were active there. They wore white robes with pointed hoods. Their hoods covered their faces. This klan marched to fight political candidates. They fought against people that hated African Americans, Roman Catholics, Jews, and foreigners.

While in Pine Level, in 1931 Rosa had met someone named Raymond Parks. He was a barber and stood up for African Americans who were being disgraced (verb bring shame or discredit on (someone or something). Raymond was apart of the NAACP(National Association for the Advancement of Colored a civil rights organization founded in 1909 to fight prejudice, lynching, and Jim Crow segregation, and to work for the betterment of "people of color.)  They both got along well because they both wanted the same thing. Later, in 1932 they got married.

The buses in Montgomery were a daily reminder that the city was segregated. African Americans (noun a black American.) were only allowed to sit in the back of the bus and in half of the middle. When they got on the bus they paid in the front and had to re-enter through the back. Some people wouldn’t want for African Americans to walk by them. Sometimes the driver would not wait for them to re-enter they would just drive away.

Coming home from work one day and James Blake(noun the Montgomery, Ala., bus driver who had Rosa Parks arrested in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger.) was driving the bus and she got on and the back was filled up with African Americans. Due to that, Rosa sat in the middle because no whites passengers were standing up. The next stop a bunch of white people got on and due to that James had to move the line back so the white passengers would not have to stand.  Four people in Rosa row were asked to stand up so the white passengers would have a seat. Everyone got up except Rosa. James asked her again to stand up but she refused. Rosa exclaimed to James,”The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”Then, James called the police and Rosa was arrested(verb seize (someone) by legal authority and take into custody.) the same day.

On December 5th Rosa went to a local court(noun a tribunal presided over by a judge, judges, or a magistrate in civil and criminal cases.)and was found guilty of breaking the segregation laws. She was fined 10 dollars plus 4 dollars court tax. Many people thought she was crazy for doing this and others thought she was courageous for standing up for her race. She was asked to leave the court but it was not settled that she would be out of jail. They told her that she had to go to a higher court to close the case.

African Americans in Montgomery refused to ride the public buses due to Rosa’s arrest. They had to find a way to get to the places they needed to get to. Daily people even walked as far as 12 miles to get to the places they needed to be at. African Americans took taxis that were meant for only them. Some people had to trample in to make it to work on time.

A bus boycott (verb a withdraw from commercial or social relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest) was made and led by Dr.Martin Luther King Jr( an American civil rights activist and Baptist minister who first rose to prominence as leader of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott challenging segregated public transportation.).Speaking to a crowd of a crowd of African Americans telling them that we were tired of being humiliated and kick around cause of our race. The boycott lasted more than a year and during that time people who agreed to this were arrested like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Some people who supported this statement their houses were bombed.Some segregationists attacked with violence. Black churches were burned to ashes.  

On November 13th the US supreme court had announced that segregation on buses was illegal(adjective forbidden by law or statute). The boycott ended on December 21st shortly after this announcement. During this time Rosa had received many threatening calls. People threatened her with being alive. Her family thought she might be killed or hurt.

Accomplishments kept on going when in 1989.  Rosa founded a Rosa and Raymond Parks Institution for self-development. This program was to help and hope for everyone to finish their education because Rosa didn’t have the chance to. She wanted to make sure other people get the education they should. Rosa got a street named after the cause of her gallant and heroic effort to make everyone equal. The street was originally called Cleveland Avenue in Montgomery, Alabama but now it is called Rosa Parks Boulevard.

Unfortunately, on October 24, 2005, at the age of 92, Rosa Parks diligently died in her apartment in Detroit, Michigan. She had been diagnosed the previous year with progressive dementia(Progressive dementia is the gradual loss of mental functions such as the ability to think, reason, remember, and plan. Dementia is caused by damaged brain cells. A stroke, brain tumor, head injury, or diseases, such as Alzheimer's or Huntington's disease, can damage brain cells.) which she had been suffering from since at least 2002. Her death was noticed by a handful of memorial services, among most of them they took place in the state at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., where an estimated 50,000 people viewed her casket. Interring Rosa lied between her husband and mother at Detroit's Woodlawn Cemetery, in the chapel's mausoleum. Shortly after her death, the chapel was renamed the Rosa L. Parks Freedom Chapel.

Cleverly, She set a goal that everyone would be equal and everyone would have the same rights. Even though she was thrown around by people that discriminated her race she didn’t let that get it her way of stopping her from reaching her goal.Many people had been thrown around because they had been supporting this action.Many people lost their houses and their lives. People like Martin Luther King Jr had been killed for stepping up for his race.

She was buried in Detroit, Michigan. Days after her death the Montgomery buses reserved their front seats and put black ribbons on them in her honor.She had a seat reserved with her name on it and no one was allowed to sit there. On October 29, 2005, her body was flown back to Montgomery and taken to St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church by a horse-drawn hearse. She layed and rested at the church until the following morning when a memorial service was held in her honor.

Her body was transferred to Washington D.C. and standing there was a bus that looked similar to the one that she had been on. She laid there with honor. More than 50,000 people came to watch her ceremony.Rosa was the first women and the second African American to lie in the state of the capital. After the memorial service in Washington, D.C., she was taken back to Detroit to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History where she was held at for two days.

On Wednesday, November 2, 2005, a funeral service was held for Rosa at the Greater Grace Temple Church in Detroit, Michigan. The service lasted for over seven hours, after the casket was taken by horse-drawn hearse to the cemetery, a lead guard from the Michigan National Guard laid a flag over the casket before it was transported and presented it to Rosa’s niece at the cemetery. Along the route of the funeral cortege, thousands of people stood in honor of Rosa. They released white balloons as the ceremony went forward.The day of Rosa’s funeral ceremony, President George W. Bush ordered all flags in the Nation’s Capital and all United States public areas, both continental and abroad, to be flown at half-mast.


Members of Congress and national civil rights leaders filled the pews. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke, as did former presidential candidate John Kerry, Ford Motor Co. Chairman and CEO Bill Ford and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton.  Over 4,000 people came to the church for the prayers.People gave speeches about Rosa and some said they would not have ever had their job if it wasn’t for her. Rosa opened up more chances for other African Americans.


The chapel that she had been rested in was renamed because of her. Now it is called The Rosa L Parks Freedom Chapel. It was a beautiful stone building with structures around it. Rosa had a beautiful mausoleum with flowers and statues. They have written on her plaque ‘’mother of civil rights movement.’’  


Rosa had won many awards for her greatness. She won the Spingarn Medal in 1979, the golden plate award in 1995, the presidential medal of freedom in 1996. Also, the congressional gold medal in 1999, and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Additionally, Rosa got a street named after her because of her courageous and heroic effort to make everyone equal. The street was originally called Cleveland Avenue in Montgomery, Alabama but now it is called Rosa Parks Boulevard.

Rosa made a difference by standing up for her race and everyone else who was getting mistreated.Now, a law is that Americans can’t discriminate people because of their color, race, religion,  and nationality. Also, not at their job, restaurants, hotels, and public places. Plus, now every citizen(noun a native or naturalized member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection) has the right to vote. Rosa was a hero(noun a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character) to all who got thrown around during the rough times.