How Rosa Parks 'No’ Became The Voice Of Modern World (Photo Credit: Twitter)
When celebrating World Human Rights Day, it is impossible not to go back some 60 years ago and reminiscent of the time when a ‘black’ woman by the name of Rosa Parks led out a simple ‘nah’ to a man of the ‘white’ race that resulted to the revolutionary movement of what we are privileged today as ‘civil rights’. Also known as "the mother of the civil rights movement," Rosa Parks revitalized the fight for racial equality when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama.
She was arrested on December 1, 1955 and convicted for violating the laws of segregation. But her act of defiance by standing for what is right even after knowing the risks harassment, lynching, losing her job led 17,000 black citizens to boycott public buses by blacks in Montgomery. The boycott lasted for 381 days giving rise to the country’s first large-scale demonstration against discrimination.
In a time and era where ‘no blacks and dogs’ are allowed was a common sighting at restaurants or public places, although, ‘public’ only meant white people, her bravery in the face of those in power became the pavement to what is morally and lawfully right.
The boycott ultimately led the U.S. Supreme Court to outlaw racial segregation on public buses in Alabama. She led people then to realise that power of a ‘voice’ when heard sparking non-violent protests in other cities also kickstarting the birth of civil rights movement by a young Baptist minister named Martin Luther King, Jr.
The movement and the laws it prompted led to the drafting of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the greatest social revolutions in modern American history.
Former president Barack Obama credits Rosa Parks’ “singular act of disobedience” in launching a modern civil rights movement. “Rosa Parks tells us there’s always something we can do. She tells us that we all have responsibilities, to ourselves and to one another’’ he said during a 2013 ceremony to unveil a statue of Parks at the U.S. Capitol.
It is hence safe to say that the privilege that we are honoured with by the constitution that includes the ensuring of peoples' physical and mental integrity, life, and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, color, age, political affiliation, ethnicity, religion, and disability among many, many others started out from a simple ‘nah’ by a black woman, Rosa Parks.