The Story of Rosa Parks
My name is Rosa Parks, and I am famous because I stood up for civil rights. Some call me the mother of civil rights movement. Back then people were segregated by skin color everywhere– in hotels, restaurants, schools, and playgrounds too.
I was born in Tuskegee, Alabama on February 4, 1913. My mother was a teacher in Spring Hill. It was too far to walk to each day. So she stayed there all week and just saw us on the weekends.
I grew up on a farm in Montgomery. There once was a boy who threatened to hit me and I threatened to throw a brick at him. I could not defend myself because if I did I would probably get beaten because he was white. I thought I should be able to. To think people didn’t have the right to defend themselves was wrong–anyone should have that right.
I once moved to a new school and this time I moved with a new teacher that was white! It was my first time being taught by a white person. Her name was Miss White.
The worst thing that happened when I was little was when the Ku Klux Klan came. The Klan was a group of people who burned down houses and churches, and beat up and killed African Americans. The Klan also punished whites who treated African Americans fairly. They mostly came because they hated Miss White because she treated the children fairly and because segregation was supposed to keep white teachers for white children, and colored teachers for colored children. The Klan hated people of different races working together. They would never accept these people helping one another. Before I went there the Klan burned Miss White’s school down twice.
In 1929 I was in eleventh grade, I had to leave school to take care for my sick grandmother. Three years later I married Raymond Parks, who was a barber. Raymond helped me go back to school. I graduated from high school in 1934.
At that time no blacks could vote either. I tried once but I got no answer! So I tried again and this time I got an answer. The lady said I didn’t pass, I asked why but she didn’t say anything and at that time they didn’t need to give you an answer. So I tried again and I passed and I could vote any time I wanted!
When I was older I got arrested for not giving up my seat to a white man on the bus. The law said that African Americans had to give up their seat if there was a white person standing and go sit in the back of the bus. I didn’t think that was fair and so I didn’t move. People started to get angry, so we walked instead of riding the buses or taxis in protest. The bus company lost a lot of money!
After that I began working for civil rights. I joined the NAACP club, and after a while we finally got our way and the buss laws were changed, but there was still segregation.
After that I lost my job, so I moved to Detroit. For a while I had to take in sewing to earn a living. But I did not stop working for everyone’s equal rights. In 1965, I began working for Congressman John Conyers who was a civil rights leader. In 1987 I founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development, which helps young black people. Now I’m much happier that everyone gets their equal rights! I’m sure everyone is happy that the NAACP club and I changed the law, because now we can go to different places with different people! It was a sad day when my life ended on October 24, 2005.