Balancing the Scales of Justice (Rosa Parks)

Essay by EnergyCoffee March 2004

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Rosa Parks inspired many people and helped fuel the civil rights movement, after its beginning on December 5th, 1955 when she single-handedly demonstrated courage and heroism that was never seen until this day. December 5th started out just like any other day for Mrs. Parks. She went to work as a seamstress for a Montgomery, AL department store, then when she was done running errands and Christmas shopping, she was on her way home. Her back and shoulders ached from her hard day's work. Her evening was made worse when she accidentally got on board a bus driven by Joseph Blake, a driver who Mrs. Parks had previous bad experiences with. (Patterson) It was late, Mrs. Parks was tired, and she wasn't paying full attention to the bus driver at first. Any other day, she would have walked home in the rain instead of riding with Joseph Blake. (Kranuz) Some bus drivers, including Joseph Blake, had a practice of making the black riders pay in the front of the bus, then exit and re-enter from the rear.

While the blacks had paid and were heading for the rear door, the bus driver would drive away - taking the blacks' money, but leaving behind the actual riders. (Kranuz) Mrs. Parks had witnessed Joseph Blake do this on several occasions, along with other things, such as passing by a bus stop with blacks waiting at it. Regardless of the bus driver, Mrs. Parks stayed on the bus, until several stops after she boarded the bus, a white person got on the, now full, bus and needed a seat. (Smith) According to the Montgomery City Code, the first ten seats on buses were reserved for whites only, the rear ten were for blacks, and the remaining middle seats were to be used by...