On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, an act of civil disobedience was made by Rosa parks, simply by boarding a bus and taking a seat. It’s not sitting on the bus that made it an act breaking the law it was the absolute refusal to give her seat up to a white male. As soon as this was heard of by the public, Jo Anne Robinson made thousands of copies of handbills encouraging African Americans to take a stand with Parks by boycotting the buses (Keene, pg. 772).This all happened on the day of Parks trial, not long after African Americans were refusing to ride buses everywhere, which was not good for business starting the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Rosa Parks’ act of civil disobedience was not going unrecognized and started a chain reaction that made a huge impact on civil rights. Without acts such as refusing to give up a seat, or marching in the streets and protesting, America would be a much different place to live. In November 1956, the Supreme Court ruled that segregated buses were unconstitutional. If Parks were to have never taken a stand by staying seated. Martin Luther King Jr. would’ve never came into the picture and taken a none violent stand against the injustice of segregation changing millions of lives.
Shortly after segregated buses were ruled unconstitutional, Martin Luther King Jr. and other key leaders of the boycott took a seat on the first integrated bus on December 21, 1956 (Keene, pg. 773). It is truly amazing how one act of breaking the law can change so many things for the better. Parks arrest started the bus boycott which then within time rid of segregation. Being that laws are put in place by people, they are of course likely to be broken by people who disagree or have a different idea of what the future or present should be. Civil disobedience may be breaking the law, but was necessary in fomenting change.
These changes that were made in history would not have been made if it weren’t for something to break the flow of the “norm”. Boundaries are always put in place and surpassed to move to new levels to encourage improvement or promotion. It’s not that breaking the law is acceptable, it’s that it was necessary for a change. If breaking the law in the future means families will have better chance at living to their full potential it should be done. Civil disobedience isn’t a problem in all cases, but a solution.
Source: Keene, Jennifer D., et al. “Chapter 25: Freedom Now, Civil Rights Movement.” Visions of America: A History of the United States, Pearson, 2015.