The only tired I was, was tired of giving in. Rosa Parks
Christened “The First Lady of Civil Rights” Rosa Parks made history on a February day in 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. Because this was against the segregation laws of Alabama, Rosa Parks was arrested, and her case became a challenge to the segregation laws of the time. More importantly, her action led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott which focused national attention on the issue of the injustice of segregation.
Trained in civil disobedience at the Highlander School in Tennessee, Rosa’s actions did not stem from personal tiredness as is often taught children, but from tiredness with a legal system that relegated her to second-class citizenship and from her willingness to break an unjust law. This was not an easy decision. Following her action, both her husband and she were fired from their jobs.
The following excerpt is from Rosa Parks: My Story, an autobiography intended for young readers.
For half of my life there were laws and customs in the South that kept African Americans segregated from Caucasians and that allowed white people to treat black people without any respect. I never thought this was fair, and from the time I was a child, I tried to protest against disrespectful treatment. But it was very hard to do anything about segregation and racism when white people had the power of the law behind them.
Somehow we had to change the laws. And we had to get enough white people on our side to be able to succeed. I had no idea when I refused to give up my seat on that Montgomery bus that my small action would help put an end to segregation laws in the South. I only knew that I was tired of being pushed around. I was a regular person, just as good as anybody else. There had been a few times in my life when I had been treated by white people like a regular person, so I knew what that felt like. It was time that other white people started treating me that way.
Why is it important for children to read autobiographies?
Have you ever thought of writing you autobiography?