This month marks the 66th anniversary of the birth of the civil rights movement


Rosa Parks was able to create great change in her community with simple actions.

Olivia Howell, Copy Editor and Opinion-Editorial Editor

When we think of the civil rights movement we think of the massive actions that propelled it. We think of the actions that took many people and many hours to complete, but the true spirit of the civil rights movement began with one woman. 

Rosa Parks was born in February of 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. She was raised by her single mother and her grandparents. Rosa Parks’ grandparents were big proponents of racial equality and throughout her childhood, she had several run-ins with racism.

Her education was marred by segregation, but she still worked hard for everything that she had and started to go to college. Unfortunately, she dropped out of school to take care of her sick family members. 

She met her future husband, Raymond, who was a member of the NAACP. After they were married, they attended meetings together and tried to make a difference for those around them. 

Rosa was a seamstress and rode the bus in Montgomery daily to and from work. The buses at the time were segregated so that the seats were labeled according to race. When the buses were full, the people in the “colored” seats were forced to give their seats up for white bus riders. 

On the night of December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was one of the ones told to give up her seat. After a long day of work and a long life of discrimination and segregation, Rosa refused. She told the bus driver that she was tired of the way that African-Americans had been treated. 

Two police officers came onto the bus and arrested her. She was in jail for only a couple of hours, but that little amount of time was enough to rally the community around her. They decided to boycott the bus system (which was owned by the city). For 381 days, the African-American citizens of Montgomery refused to ride the bus. They walked from place to place no matter how tired they were. 

The boycott caught national attention, and the supreme court ruled that segregation on public buses was illegal. This spurred on more and more discussions on segregation and the treatment of African-Americans in America. 

The actions of Rosa Parks prove that one small movement, one small refusal, one small idea can snowball into great change. It does not take a mass movement to create great change in society.