Monday, February 4, 2013

Remembering Rosa Parks, American Hero

It's the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rosa Parks, an American hero whose act of courage - as a black woman, she refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man - got her arrested in 1955 and helped launch the American Civil Rights movement.
In honor of this anniversary, here are a few past tributes written by Youth Journalism International students when Parks died in 2005:

From Zach Brokenrope in Nebraska:

October 27, 2005
How Rosa Parks changed the world
By Zach Brokenrope
I remember hearing Rosa Parks’ name for the first time when I was in third grade.
It was black history month and Mrs. Deines raised an old black and white picture in front of the class.
“Does anyone know who this is?” she asked in her nasally voice.
We all leaned forward in our desks to examine the picture. The woman was African American and not that old, her head was turned slightly, and she was staring out a white window.
I had never seen the woman before, and I guess no one else did since nobody raised a hand.
“This is Rosa Parks,” Mrs. Deines said, “and she helped change the world.”
I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way I can remember exact words from a conversation that took place when I was 9. But I do, and it’s because ever since then, I’ve wanted to change the world, too.
I am not an African American, but I am an American.
When Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat she symbolized America , and what it stands for, in the simplest way.

Read the entire piece here.

From Michel Lee in California:
October 31, 2005
We are all Rosa Parks
By Michel Lee
Ever heard of Claudette Colvin? I didn't think so. The chances of recognizing that name are about as slim as me singing in pitch. But that's a different story.
How about Rosa Parks? Now, if you didn't recognize THAT, then I have something very special to recommend. It's called a history book.
That's right. Rosa Parks has gone down in history as the courageous African American woman who sparked the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s.
We've heard countless times that she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus that fateful day and was arrested by the police. Thus began the infamous bus boycott.
Do I sound like a history teacher yet?
However, we overlook the contributions of other, unnoticed men and women who were also tired of being treated like second-class citizens, who were also up to there with all that segregation nonsense.
Did you know that Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery bus nine months before Rosa Parks? She was only 15 years old at the time, a junior at Booker T. Washington High School. She, like Parks, was pulled off the bus by policemen and hauled to prison.

Read the entire piece here.

From Liane Harder in Michigan: 
October 31, 2005
Her legacy makes the Motor City proud
By Liane Harder
As Detroit prepared for Super Bowl XL, an ominous dark cloud appeared over the city. There was a moment of silence, and then everyone burst into action. The city moved faster than ever to spread the news. Rosa Parks, civil rights activist and Detroit legend, was dead.
Television broadcasts of football games and news were interrupted, and phones began to ring. Soon, everyone knew of the event.
Parks was 92 years old when she died Monday night, at her Detroit home. She had been having health problems for a while, and many say she had one foot in the grave. Still, her death came as a shock to the community.
In a city known for gang violence and a general state of disrepair, Parks was like a ray of light. She gave hope to the community, because she was like an angel watching out for us. She cared about the city of Detroit.
Everyone knows what she did for the country: she refused to give up her seat on the bus, helping to end segregation.

Read the whole piece here. 

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