One of the people who are referred to as heroes is certainly Rosa Parks, whose name is equaled with African American plight for egalitarianism. Her calm and peaceful persona allowed her to accept all the unfairness African Americans were subjected to, but one time she had to step up and remain seated on a bus. This proved to be the catalyst of the already ongoing plight for equality, and after Rosa Parks’ ordeal, the African American community became even more fervent in their struggle for freedom.
True heroes are those who do not hurt others in their endeavor, who persevere no matter how hard the obstacles are and how difficult the consequences. History offers an abundance of examples where people refused to succumb to segregation, unlawful and unfair treatment, where they demanded their basic human rights back. One of those people is Rosa Parks. Her name is a resounding one in the plight of the civil rights movement and the liberation of African Americans from their hardships. What makes her efforts stand out to such an extent is not their aggression and strength, but rather her calm and peaceful rebellion to give up her seat on a bus.
In the 1950s, the harsh segregation of African Americans was in full bloom. There were designated places for them in restaurants, theatres, even buses, with the strict intention not to mix the two races. Even through according to law, it was not necessary for anyone to give up their place, once having sat down, the drivers still enforced the rule to create more places for white people on the bus if it was crowded, by moving the sign which said “colored” towards the back rows. Naturally, the African American population, which comprised more than half of the travelers, was disgruntled, yet did not act on their dissatisfaction out of fear of retribution, having to pay a fine, being thrown in jail or even worse, being murdered. Thus, in stoic silence, they endured their segregation years, complying with the laws of the white man who wanted to keep them down.
On this faithful day, December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks did what she usually did. She bought her ticket and entered through the back door, found a seat and sat down. Her seat was immediately after the sign which divided the seating places for the two races. Once the bus started becoming crowded with more white people, the bus driver approached Parks and the three other people sitting next to and across from her, asking them to move. The three people complied, however, Parks decided this time, she would not move. Instead, she moved towards the window, making herself even more comfortable, as if wanting to show the bus driver that he may continue his route. He started getting angry, raising his voice to her, and threatening to call the police, all to no avail. Parks remained calm and composed, replying that he may do whatever he desires.
Naturally, he called the police, who came and arrested her, on account of the violation of the segregation code, though in reality, she broke no laws. She was not sitting in a seat designated for whites, but as they say, the law is the law, and it was not looking down favorably on African Americans. What followed was a short trial after which Parks was found guilty, but more importantly, her efforts sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, where all the African Americans urged for boycotting the public transport, in protest for Parks’ arrest. In the years to follow, she became an icon of peaceful rebellion, of standing up when one’s basic human rights are being negated, and especially as an icon of the African American plight for equality.
As Emerson said, there exist victories in peace, but it takes a brave man to win them. In this case, this brave man was a woman who was not feeling physically tired, as some would deem her actions to be the result of, but rather, she was feeling subdued as a person, voiceless, made to become invisible and unworthy. It did not take an explosive event with numerous casualties to make a change. All it took was this peaceful, serene woman of a soothing voice to tranquilly refuse to give up her rightful seat on a bus, and be persistent about it. Persistence is one of the traits of true heroes, and Rosa Parks proved herself worthy of being referred to as a true hero of the African American struggle for egalitarianism.