‘People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, …No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in’.
This inspirational quote was said by none other than Rosa Parks, an African-American civil rights activist, who was hailed as “the first lady of civil rights” and “mother of the freedom movement” by the United States Congress.
December 1st, 1955, was just a normal working day for her. As she was taking a bus on her way home, she was ordered that she give up her seat in the ‘coloured section’ to a white man, as the ‘white section’ was already filled. Rosa felt that she didn’t deserve such treatment, and refused to obey the bus driver. This was, in Alabama, viewed as a violation of segregation laws. The bus driver called the police when Rosa refused to comply and shortly after, she was arrested. Edgar Nixon, the President of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) and Rosa’s friend, Clifford Durr, bailed her out of jail the following evening.
This experience caused Rosa “to know, once and for all what rights I had as a human being and a citizen”. After her arrest, she became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement but suffered many hardships. In 1965, John Conyers, an African-American U.S. Representative, hired her as a secretary and receptionist for his office in Detroit. She held this position until her retirement in 1988.
During the 1970s, Rosa suffered many personal losses. Rosa, a widow and without any immediate family, rededicated herself to the Civil Rights Movement. She co-founded the Rosa L. Parks Scholarship Foundation and the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-development. She also published many autobiographies which led her to her decision not to give up her seat on that fateful day.
This inspirational story of Rosa Parks has indeed made a huge impression on me. Even though this story is not set in Singapore, it does not mean that there will never be such cases of racism among Singaporeans. Racial harmony is something we can never take for granted, especially in the multi-racial society of Singapore.
All races are equal. We should always respect different races, not judge anyone purely based on appearance and become prejudiced against them.
With reference to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Parks
Soh Wen Shuen(1W)