Sit Down to Stand Up


Rosa Parks is well known for her role in the desegregation of America.  She refused to move to the back of the bus when a white man told her to.  However, little is known about when she stood up to a white man she accused of “near rape.”  There is some skepticism about whether the letter written about the assault is true or not, people claim that it doesn’t sound like something Parks would write.  I think it backs up the resilience and character shown throughout the civil rights movement.

Rosa Parks certainly had the right to break the law on the bus, as contradicting as that sounds. Her basic human and American rights were being violated as she was being treated unfairly and unequally.  She saw segregation and discrimination as wrong and unconstitutional.  There was also nothing violent about the way she protested, everything was peaceful.

I have never heard of her being a diminished by anyone speaking about her today.  I do think it could be perceived as diminished because people would think she just got sick and tired of giving up her seat which seems like the tipping point.  Something in her boiled over and she just refused to move.  This then snowballed into a huge ordeal that ended up being one of the most important moments in the civil rights movement.

14 thoughts on “Sit Down to Stand Up

  1. I can honestly say that I too had not heard of anyone challenging her actions or the intent, but I can honestly say that I never knew until this class that there were two other younger women before her that refused to give up their seat and were arrested. I have really reviewed my interpretation of this information and I really do not see how this information would change or challenge my opinion of her action. The most important fact is that this ridiculous culture was challenged legally and changed!

    1. I too think that anyone who may have “challenged” her intent were merely stating the facts on the issue, and people being what they are misinterpreted that and ran with it like someone was doubting her actions. Prior to this class I wasn’t even aware of the notion that anyone thought of Rosa Parks in anything other than high esteem, barring of course those individuals who stood in opposition to the civil rights movement.

    2. I also did not know about the two women arrested before Ms. Parks, or that Rosa Parks received serious threats for several years after the Montgomery bus incident. It seems as though even back then, those who were afraid of change and integration knew what a force Rosa Parks was.

    3. I learned just a few months ago about the women prior that did what Rosa Parks did, it’s interesting how they weren’t lifted up in the same way that Rosa Parks was, but that may have partially been because of who the women were and that Rosa Parks was already an activist.

  2. I feel, the fact that Mrs. Parks did not give up her seat was about more than just a seat, it was about human dignity and mutual respect. A person gets sick and tired of being kicked around and treated as if they are less than human.

    The text mentions that the majority of the Montgomery bus systems passengers, 65% in fact, were African americans. That being the case, it is highly likely there were empty seats which the man could have chosen from as well. He probably just wanted that particular seat and insisted Mrs. Parks be removed from it. It’s a good thing she stood her ground, risking going to jail, instead of allowing the indignation to continue even for one more day. Her action gave others the courage to continue the fight for fair treatment.

    1. This is exactly right! Why should she be treated as if she is less than anyone else? Why should she be forced to find a new seat or stand? I agree that its very likely that the man just wanted that particular seat, why should Parks have to give him hers? It is far from fair and its horrible that things were this way during this time.

    2. I do believe that the “white’s only” section was in fact full that day, but regardless, I agree with everything else you said! I think it was about human dignity, worth, and standing up for both herself and other black individuals. If Rosa Parks didn’t put her foot down that day, who knows what kind of progress we would have lost. Brave individuals that put themselves out there and demand change are so pivotal to democracy.

    3. I agree, it wasn’t really about the seat at all, no one has a big connection to a public bus seat really, but she knew why she was expected to obey and she knew it was wrong and that’s what really matters.

  3. What seemed like such a peaceful protest resulted in many consequences for Rosa Parks. Just imagined how many death threats she might have received after her refusal to rise from a seat on the bus? I am sure that Rosa Parks entire life changed and for anyone to question her actions, is to me pitiful. She was brave and very important to the African American race.

    1. Some of the people that supported Rosa Parks and the boycott that followed when she did not give up her seat were subjected to their homes being bombed. It is truly amazing that Rosa Parks was not assaulted or beaten. Emmett Till was lynched only a few months before this boycott occurred. It was indeed an act of bravery to risk not only being jailed, but physical harm as well.

  4. Claudette Colvin was arrested and put on probation just for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman. It is ridiculous that someone could be arrested just for sitting somewhere. Having to move seats is degrading. No one should be told that they aren’t good enough or allowed to sit in a section/seat. I’m glad these women put their foot down to the discrimination they faced and didn’t tolerate white racists.

  5. “Sit down to stand up” is a great title choice, Rosa Parks decision to stay down in her seat raised a lot of awareness to the lack of justice blacks were giving. I believe she was tired of it to be honest.

  6. I like the title you came up with. I think it’s interesting that most people seem to see her as just another person up until the moment where she refused to give up her seat, but she was a big member of the fight for civil rights already, she was the Secretary of the Montgomery, AL chapter of the NAACP. Really interesting person that I’ve always loved learning about.

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