Essay on How Did Rosa Parks Influence Others

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It is said that we learn history to appreciate a variety of cultures, but most importantly to have knowledge about the past and not repeat it. Social movements have had a very significant role in history, as they help society develop a greater understanding of issues in politics that are unfair to all. Through the decades, America has seen an enormous amount of inequality, from the moment Rosa Parks decided to hold ground on the bus until recent times when police brutality and racial profiling remain above the charts in favor of some of President Donald Trump’s perspectives. Despite the great advances African Americans have been able to achieve, racism is still alive today.

One of the most successful ways civilians know how to let their voices be heard is through social movements. Social movements are formed to challenge or defend prevailing ways of authority that obstruct inequality, unfairness, and unjust policies. A mass of people band together to form a group to pass their message across multiple obstacles that come their way, the main one being authority. Social movements reappear throughout history as people feel they are needed. A very important concept to understand within social movements is that most people are outsiders who do not have the ability to be heard unless it’s through these movements. This is because the people in these groups are ordinary, average civilians, without political influence on their side. Movements are incredibly important in our society, although we are a democratic country, many times decisions being made by the government do not favor equality for all. Thus, it is essential that people speak up for change, many times they bring awareness or visibility to huge issues and are able to gather social change. Some of the tactics used by these groups are loud and disruptive, while others are peaceful and nonviolent.

One victorious strategy that has been used throughout history is civil disobedience. Which simply means going against the law knowing there will be consequences in hopes of making a difference for equality. A great example of civil disobedience would be Rosa Parks, she refused to sit in the back of the bus assigned to African Americans through racial segregation. She felt it was unfair, and decided to break the law, by refusing, which led to a domino effect. Rosa Parks influenced and encouraged others to join her in a rebellious action that led to an outbreak of many other African Americans speaking out. Rosa Parks's valiance sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott which led to boycotts nationwide, ultimately adding to the rise of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatest advocates for civil rights. Civil rights are the rights of all citizens toward political, and social freedom and equality. After the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, African Americans were supposed to be protected under the law of unjust treatment from others. The 14th Amendment granted their citizenship, making them rightful to their civil rights, and the 15th Amendment emphasized their right to political equality. However, this was not the case.

As African American people tried to protest against unequal treatment they were taken from their freedom of assembly, by being brutally beaten and silenced. In the Selma to Montgomery marches hundreds of lives were taken, simply for expressing their want for the right to vote. Although previously granted the right to vote, African Americans were discriminated against through literacy tests, grandfather clauses, white primaries, and poll taxes. A huge violation of their civil rights, all these devices supported the Jim Crow laws which implemented racial segregation. Five months after the marches, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was a huge accomplishment for the African-American Civil Rights Movement. In this act, the government banned racial discrimination in voting across the United States, mainly in the South. Johnson also passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and sex, another extreme victory for this movement. Not only was this important then but it is now, this goes to show that in order for real change to happen one must have Congress by their side, laws need to be implemented or else nothing will evolve.

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At this point in time most segregated areas had become inclusive of all races. Yet, traditional schools were left behind. The South feared that their children would socialize with black children and soon create interpersonal relationships that could potentially lead to marriage. It was not until the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education that, constitutionally speaking, the era of Jim Crow had finally ended. In the Supreme Court case decision of 1954, the judges ruled in favor of Brown naming “separate but equal” unconstitutional. Ultimately this led to all public schools giving African American children the same educational opportunities as white children. This was revolutionary for the African American Civil Rights Movement as it desegregated African Americans from these exclusive schools.

Even though African Americans have persevered through the harsh struggles they have been put against, still today we see discrimination and racism. Unfortunately, in today’s world racism thrives through big corporations such as Walmart and even Southern California Edison, as stated by ThoughtCo. Southern California Edison was sued in 2010 for racism after many African American workers were denied promotions, unfair pay, and biased job assignments. Walmart was sued in 2008 for racial discrimination as they turned away a disproportionate amount of African-American truck drivers. Racism also still exists in the fashion industry, for example, the fast-fashion company H&M exposed an image in January 2018 of an African American child wearing a sweater that said “coolest monkey in the jungle.” This sweater is not only derogatory but it was taken to huge offense by the African-American community, who did not take this issue lightly. Not only were ties cut with multiple celebrities, but H&M also saw one of the biggest drops in sales of the decade, according to CNBC.

In addition to social racism, the United States is recognized for its institutionalized racism in the criminal justice system. One out of three black males will be incarcerated in their lifetime, this is not by coincidence but because of such high racial profiling numbers, according to the Netflix film “13TH.” We live in a world where the system benefits the rich and guilty rather than the poor and innocent. Racism is embedded in the system, it appears to die but in reality, it is reborn in different ways. If one out of three men will see the inside of prison, then that means that one-third of the African American population cannot vote. There is a clear line of repetition here, the system is denying citizens the right to vote based on their criminal record yet the chances of a white male being incarcerated are nowhere near the same as a black male. Once again, this means that the only ones hurting are African Americans. The government needs to enforce equality, starting with President Donald Trump, whose ideologies favor racial discrimination and profiling.

History tends to repeat itself, just when it looks like change has occurred there are still a few institutionalized behaviors that bring the entire community back down. Although America has come a long way, and people like Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and President Lyndon B. Johnson opened greater opportunities for all, there is still more that has to be done. Social movements continue to rise as they feel unfairness and unequal support from the government, it was not too long ago that Black Lives Matter became a phenomenon. Unfortunately, Americans still feel the need to protest, aspiring for their voice to finally be heard.

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Essay on How Did Rosa Parks Influence Others. (2024, January 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
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