Important women to remember - Rosa Parks

"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, the fear diminishes; knowing what must be done does away with fear" - Rosa Parks

In honor of the International Women's Day I've decided to finally start a new series on my blog that I've had planned for quite a while now and that is "Important women to remember" and I thought this important and amazing day was a good one to use as an excuse to now start it off with the first blog post in this series where I'll be covering the accomplishments of Rosa Parks.

Rosa Parks first made the action that would ensure her name being included in history books all over the world on that fateful day of December 1st in 1955 at the height of the horrid segregation policy, a stain on American history, where she boarded a bus in the city of Montgomery, Alabama. Segregation policies said that African Americans had to sit in the back of the bus while the seats at the front were designated for white people but instead of doing just that Rosa Parks sat down in the front. More and more people boarded the bus and as it started to fill up the bus driver told Parks to move but she refused. Now this may not sound that crucial to you if you're not aware of the horrors that took place during this dark period in time but let me assure you this was an incredibly brave action and this one action set into action one of the largest social movements in history - the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Parks herself later said about this specific episode: "People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically...no, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in".

Now before we move on to the other crucial steps Rosa Parks has taken in the fight for civil rights for African Americans I firstly want to familiarize you a bit with her background.

Mostly known to the world as Rosa Parks the name she was born with was actually Rosa Louise McCauley and came into the world on February 4th 1913. Her parents split up when she was very young and she went on to live with her mom at her grandparents' farm. Both of her grandparents were former slaves and therefore strong advocates for racial equality so this was a concept Parks became acquainted with at a very young age and unfortunately but obviously so was racism. Throughout her education Parks attended segregated schools. Beginning at age 11 Parks moved to Montgomery and continued to further her education but in 11th grade she had to leave school in order to tend to her dying grandmother and later her chronically ill mother. After this Parks didn't return to school. In 1932 at the age of 19 Parks married a self-educated man who worked as a local barber by the name of Raymond Parks. He like Parks had been active in the Civil Rights Movement from a young age as he was a long time member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People when they married. Parks was supported by her husband in her efforts to finally get her high school diploma, something she achieved the following year. Her marriage to Raymond Parks also involved her joining the same organization that he already was a part of and together they worked with multiple social justice organizations. Eventually Parks was elected secretary of the Montgomery department of the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People.

We now arrive at that fateful day of December 1st 1955 yet again and from here the story takes us on.

Parks was arrested for this resistance and this act would prove to have the complete opposite consequence than the police had hoped because this prompted the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott; a few days following her arrest Parks was taken to court and found guilty of violating segregation laws and in protest of this members of the African American community and sympathizers for other races stayed of the busses on this day and instead stayed home, took a cab or walked. Initially the boycott was only meant to last that one day but after seeing the tremendous support the cause had gained it was decided to take advantage of momentum and so the now famous boycott ended up lasting precisely 381 days. The Montgomery Bus Boycott ended with the US Supreme Court on November 13th 1956 declaring segregation on public transportation to be unconstitutional. The Montgomery Bus Boycott officially ended on December 20th 1956 a day after the written order from the Supreme Court arrived in Montgomery and with that the Montgomery Bus Boycott became one of biggest and most succesful movements against racial segregation and discrimination in history.

In the remainder of her life Parks continued to work as a civil rights activist and amongst other things she co-founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development which purpose it is to motivate and direct youth to achieve their highest potential. Furthermore in 1999 she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal - the highest honor the US bestows on a civilian - along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and many other and ended her life being nationally recognized as the "mother of modern day civil rights movement" leaving behind a legacy of resistance to racial discrimination and injustice.

In case you want to learn more about the amazing Rosa Parks I've found some further reading and videos about her:

  • https://www.biography.com/activist/rosa-parks
  • https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/rosa-parks
  • https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/rosa-parks
  • https://www.rosaparks.org/biography/
  • "Rosa Parks - civil rights activist" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8A9gvb5Fh0

History has throughout time often decided to focus on the accomplishments of men and disregarded the many women whom we have to thank for the way the world looks today and therefore it is so important to remember women like Rosa Parks and the courageous actions they took to ensure us the rights we have today. I hope to be able to help with spreading their stories and making sure their legacies aren't forgotten with blogposts like these. We women are a lot more amazing than we often gives ourselves credit for and we have to make sure to reminder ourselves of this because unfortunately society has a tendency to sometimes not.

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Til ære for Kvindernes Internationale Kampdag har jeg besluttet mig for endelig at starte en ny serie på min blog, som jeg har haft planlagt i et stykke tid nu, og det er "Vigtige kvinder at huske", og jeg tænkte, at denne vigtige og fantastiske dag var en god undskyldning for nu at starte med det første blogindlæg, hvor jeg vil fokusere på bedrifterne af Rosa Parks.

Rosa Parks udførte den handling, der ville sikre inkluderingen af hendes navn i historiebøger verden over, på den skæbnesvangre dag den 1. december i 1955, da den forfærdelige raceadskillelsespolitik var på sit højeste, en skamplet på amerikansk historie, da hun gik ombord på en bus i byen Montgomery, Alabama. Raceadskillelsespolitikker sagde, at afroamerikanske skulle sidde bagerst i bussen, mens sæderne forrest var udset til de hvide mennesker, men i stedet for at gøre netop det, satte Rosa Parks sig forrest. Flere og flere mennesker steg ombord på bussen, og som den begyndte at fyldes op sagde buschaufføren til Parks, at hun skulle flytte sig, men hun nægtede. I sig selv lyder det her måske ikke som noget stort, hvis du ikke er klar over de skrækkeligheder, der fandt sted under den her mørke periode i historien, men lad mig forsikre dig om, at det her var en særdeles modig handling, og den her ene handling satte gang i en af de største sociale bevægelser i historien - The Montgomery Bus Boycott. Parks selv sagde senere om den her specifikke episode: "Folk siger altid at jeg ikke opgav min plads fordi jeg var træt, men det er ikke sandt. Jeg var ikke træt fysisk...nej, den eneste træt jeg var, var af at give efter".

Nu inden vi går videre til de andre afgørende skridt, Rosa Parks har taget i kampen for borgerrettigheder for afroamerikanere, vil jeg først gøre dig mere kendt med hendes baggrund.

Selvom verdenen mest kender hende som Rosa Parks, blev hun faktisk født med navnet Rosa Louise McCauley og kom til verdenen den 4. Februar 1913. Hendes forældre gik fra hinanden, da hun var meget ung, og hun endte med at bo med sin mor på hendes bedsteforældres farm. Begge hendes bedsteforældre var tidligere slaver og derfor stærke fortalere for racemæssig ligestilling, så det her var et koncept, Parks blev bekendt med som meget ung, og desværre, men selvfølgelig, så var racisme også det. Igennem sin uddannelse gik Parks på raceadskilte skoler. Som 11 år gammel flyttede hun til Montgomery og fortsatte med sin uddannelse, men i 11. klasse måtte hun forlade skolen for at tage sig af sin døende mormor og senere sin kronisk syge mor. Efter dette vendte Parks ikke tilbage til skole. I 1932, som 19 år gammel, blev Parks gift med en selvuddannet mand, som arbejdede, som en lokal barber, der hed Raymond Parks. Han, ligesom Parks, havde været aktiv i bevægelsen for borgerrettigheder, siden han var helt ung, eftersom han var et langtidsmedlem af organisationen National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, da de blev gift. Parks blev støttet af sin mand i sin stræben efter endelig at få sit eksamensbevis - noget hun opnåede det følgende år. Hendes ægteskab med Raymond Parks medførte også, at hun blev medlem af den samme organisation, som han allerede var en del af, og sammen arbejdede de med mange socialretfærdighedsorganisationer. Med tiden blev hun valgt som minister for afdelingen af National Association for the Advancement for Colored People i Montgomery.

Vi ankommer nu endnu engang ved den skæbnesvangre dag af den 1. december 1955, og herfra tager historien os videre.

Parks blev anholdt for denne modstand, og den handling ville vise sig at have den komplet modsatte effekt af, hvad politiet havde håbet på, for dette gav anledning til den berømte Montgomery Bus Boycott; få dage efter hendes anholdelse blev Parks taget med til retten, hvor hun blev fundet skyldig i at have brudt raceadskillelsespolitikken, og i protest mod dette holdte medlemmerne af det afroamerikanske lokalsamfund og sympatisører for andre racer sig væk fra busserne på den dag og blev i stedet hjemme, tog en taxa eller gik. I begyndelsen var det kun meningen, at boykotten skulle vare den ene dag, men efter at have set den enorme støtte sagen havde fået, besluttede man sig for at udnytte dens styrke, og den nu berømte boykot endte med at vare præcis 381 dage. Montgomery Bus Boykotten endte med, at USA's Højeste Ret den 13. November 1956 erklærede, at raceadskillelse på offentlig transport var forfatningsstridigt. Montgomery Bus Boykotten endte den 20. December 1956, en dag efter den nedskrevne ordre fra Højeste Retten ankom i Montgomery, og med det blev Montgomery Bus Boykotten en af de største og mest succesfulde bevægelser mod raceadskillelse og diskrimination i historien.

I resten af sit liv fortsatte Parks med at arbejde som en borgerettighedsaktivist, og bla. var hun med til at grundlægge det institut, der fik navnet Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, hvis formål det var at motivere ungdommen til at opnå deres højeste potentiale. Yderligere modtog hun i 1999 medaljen, der hedder Congressional Gold Medal - den højeste ære USA skænker en civil - sammen med medaljen, der hedder Presidential Medal of Freedom og mange andre, og endte sit liv med nationalt at blive anset som "moderen for den moderne borgerrettighedsbevægelse", og efterlod sig en arv af modstand mod racediskrimination og uretfærdighed.

Hvis du har lyst til at lære mere om den fantastiske Rosa Parks, har jeg fundet en enkelt artikel om hende, og hvis du forstår engelsk, anbefaler jeg stærkt også at tjekke de artikler og den video, jeg har linket til på engelsk:

  • "Rosa Parks: En ægte heltinde" - https://www.information.dk/2007/07/rosa-parks-aegte-heltinde

Historien har gennem tiden ofte besluttet sig for at fokusere på bedrifterne udført af mænd, og ignoreret de mange kvinder, som vi har at takke for, hvordan verden ser ud i dag, og derfor er det så vigtigt at huske kvinder som Rosa Parks, og de modige handlinger de udførte, for at sikre os de rettigheder vi har i dag. Jeg håber, at kunne hjælpe med at sprede deres historier og sørge for, at deres arv ikke bliver glemt, med blogindlæg som dette. Vi kvinder er meget mere fantastiske, end vi ofte giver os selv anderkendelse for, og vi er nødt til at sørge for at minde os selv om det, fordi desværre har samfundet en tendens til ikke at gøre dette.

Jeg håber vi ses igen snart!

Kærlig hilsen,

Maria Cecilie

#feminisme #kvinder #personligblog

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