Be My Guest- Women’s History Celebration

Today’s blog is written by Colline over at A Potpourri of Thoughts and Experiences. I hope you visit there to read some of her other posts.

 

Here's to Good Women

The place: a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in the United States

The date: December 1, 1955

The person: Rosa Parks, an African-American woman.

The action: refusal to give up her place for a white woman.

The result: she was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person.

Rosa Parks Bus

The event described above seems foreign to the modern reader. And yet it was not too long ago that women of colour did not have the rights that women today enjoy. Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, a defender of civil rights for African-American women, is known for her refusal to give up her right to choose where to sit. Her defiant action has came to be a symbol in the movement against racial segregation in the United States. Even though at the time of her action she was active in the civil rights movement, she stood up for herself on that day because she was tired of giving into the demands made on her to cede her rights to her white counterparts. She paid the price for her action: with her arrest and conviction by a local court. She also lost her job as a seamstress at a local store.

Her defiant action caused a spark in the civil rights movement that ignited the Montgomery bus boycott. In boycotting the Montgomery public transit system, the users were protesting against the segregation of races in the buses. As most bus riders were from the black population, the protest crippled the Montgomery public transit system financially as they lost most of their ridership. The year long bus boycott began on December 1, 1955 and ended December 20, 1956 with a federal ruling in the case of Browder v. Gayle; a ruling which led to a United States Supreme Court decision declaring the Alabama and Montgomery laws of segregated buses to be unconstitutional. From that time on, riders were not segregated when using the bus system.

Rosa Parks

Parks’ action on the bus that day in December 1955 was not the only action she made in her life against racial segregation. She was a firm believer that people of colour should be able to advance in society. When she was arrested, she was the secretary for the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. When she moved to Michigan after the incident in Montgomery, she became secretary and receptionist to the African American US representative, John Conyers. She worked with him between the years 1965 to 1988. Her collaboration with civil rights leaders during her life, led her to helping Martin Luther King Jnr become the leader of the civil rights movement.

Rosa Parks was a woman who stood up for what she believed – and she worked towards achieving a vision that she firmly believed in. Undaunted by the obstacles she faced from living in a society that did not acknowledge her as an equal, she continued working for a dream that she shared with other members of the civil rights movement. Women, no matter what race, can see her as an example of a woman who never gives up on her dream, a woman who had the strength of her convictions to stand up for what she believed was right.

What do you see Rosa Parks as an example of? Would you stand up for what you believe in as she did?

When I invited Colline to write a guest blog I did not know who she would select as the featured woman. When I learned it would be Rosa Parks I was delighted. I personally find Rosa’s story inspiring. She was a woman not afraid to take a risk. I read a story about Rosa in the not so long ago past where the author made the statement that Rosa’s action on that bus that day was like her placing her shoulder against a boulder and giving it a huge push. As Colline pointed out in a comment on my recent post Fear vs. Hope risk looks different for each one of us. We need to be willing and ready to step out and take that risk when the trumpet sounds for the action you take may forever go into the history books.

 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

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10 thoughts on “Be My Guest- Women’s History Celebration

  1. Great post. It’s always refreshing to read of the courageous Rosa Parks. Her actions are inspiring. My hope is that I am ready if and when the call comes. Thanks for sharing!

    Sidebar note – I have read the book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and found it very informative. It gave me a whole new way of looking at the medical profession, in relation to diseases, and the power-play involved. Everyone should read it.

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    • When the time comes, it is surprising how we are able to find that courage deep down within ourselves.
      Thanks for the tip on an interesting book to read – I have added it to my ever growing list 🙂

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    • It is an informative book. I am also listening to the Emperor of all Maladies which is equally fascinating. I have been impressed by just how far we have traveled in our discoveries in the past 50 years and the price some people paid to advance our knowledge. Thanks for the comments.

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  2. Have not been couragous enough, yet. Have had fear, been afraid to take that step outside my comfort zone. Will speak up, will tell the truth, of an event that was witnessed in January, 1996.

    My bold step will likely have a great impact on my life, some negative impacts, too, and will be fraught with many challenges. I have been asked if I’m sure this is a step I want to take. My answer: a resounding, Yes!

    I’m nervous, but ready. I’m hoping that my bold step will bring others forward who have witnessed the same and been afraid to speak up. It is my hope that the bold step I take in revealing the truth will help change a system ripe for change, will start a movement towards change for the better….

    I begin speaking on April 19th at the Toronto Police Services Board meeting with a deputation.

    I am just beginning the journey towards advocacy and human rights for those who are no longer with us, no longer able to share the truth.

    I’m ready. Will you join me?

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  3. Great post about Rosa Parks! She is one of my heroes!!! I have never been in her situation, but I hope that I would would have had the courage to do what she did that day.

    My degree is in Social Work so I have a special place in my heart for social justice issues and I’m always blessed to hear how courageous people change the world.

    Thank you for this post 🙂

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