Rosa Parks, the African American woman who did not yield her seat to a white man
Rosa Parks is one of the most essential characters in the history of North American civil rights. When she was 37 years old, she joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Five years later, when she was riding a bus where the “white” section was full, she refused to give her seat despite it being her obligation as a coloured woman. As a result of this she was incarcerated and charged with civil disobedience.
Parks was not the first to refuse to yield her seat and consequently be arrested, previously women such as Sarah Louise Keys, Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, and Marie Louise Smith, experienced the same thing. Parks however, became an icon of the equal rights movement in the United States when Edgard Nixon, the president of NAACP, handed out over 35 thousand pamphlets in order to boycott buses in Montgomery, where they asked all black people to avoid using public transports.
The boycott lasted in total 381 days. Martin Luther King also participated in it, at the time he wasn’t a figure known by many, but he was beginning to profile himself as a man devoted to fighting for dignity. After losing 75% of the users of public transports, new laws were created, and companies had to yield and offered equal access and bus usage to any person, without making racial distinctions.
“Tired of giving in”, was the phrase that Rosa Parks unfurled during her battle against discrimination. Her definite “No” became an example of worthy determination, and while it was not the first, it burgeoned into a cultural transformation —and to this day continues to be a reference for civil rights’ struggles around the world.
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