USA - American life
The story of Rosa
How one young lady's
defiance helped ignite the whole American Civil rights
movement in the 1950s
with Martin Luther King and a bus.
Society goes forward more thanks
to people who refuse
authority, than to those who respect i
people might consider this idea as a recipe for anarchy, it is an idea
highly respected in the culture of the English-speaking countries. It
rooted in a historic tradition of
tolerance, and expressed in attitudes to difference, to originality,
It does not
mean that English speaking countries have always been tolerant: that is
certainly not the case; but those who react against intolerance or just
senseless authority can easily become heroes.
is a classic example.
As a young woman in the city of
the Deep South of the United States, Rosa became a heroine and role
millions because she defied
home on a Montgomery bus one day in 1955, Rosa had the gall to sit down
of the empty seats at the front, seats reserved for Whites only. When
driver noticed, he immediately stopped the bus, and ordered Rosa to go
back of the bus. Rosa defied his authority. The driver repeated his
"Go to the back!" Again, and again Rosa defied him; in the end, the
police were called, and Rosa Parks was hauled
off the bus
fined $10 - a large sum in those days.
defiance of authority was to have repercussions throughout the USA; it
act that ignited the whole Civil Rights movement in the United States
America, and gave hope to similar movements in other parts of the world.
authority on that city over half a century ago, little did
imagine that she would one day receive the highest honor of the State
Alabama, and that that honor would be bestowed on
personally by the
Governor. Yet that is exactly what has happened.
Rosa Parks receiving a
medal from Gov. Siegelman in 2000
At the end
of the year 2000, Rosa Parks, then an elderly lady, became the first
of the "Governor's Medal of Honor for Extraordinary Courage", a new
designed to honor those who demonstrate extraordinary acts of
that have a lasting impact on the lives of others.
presentation ceremony, Governor Siegelman said: "As governor, I am
to bestow this highest honor on Rosa Parks, a woman who, in 1955,
injustice by sitting firmly to take a stand against the inequality of
Mrs. Parks' simple act of civil disobedience sparked a global
began with the Montgomery Bus Boycott and forever changed our nation.
American is indebted to this daughter of Alabama, who refused to bow to
injustice and who personifies extraordinary heroism. May her profound
and tenacious will
for social justice infuse our hearts and forever
think of no one who has demonstrated more individual courage or a
to stand up for what is right than Mrs. Parks, and I am proud to name
the first recipient of this award."
Blacks and Whites had, in theory, been equal citizens in the USA since
even in 1950 they did not benefit from equal rights.
Segregation was particularly severe in the states of the Old South,
states that had fought a civil war in defense of slavery
things were as bad as anywhere. In 1954, the U.S. Supreme court had
"separate but equal" education policies were illegal, but little had
been done in the southern states to change the situation. Yet Blacks -
"Negroes" as they were called in those days - were becoming more
determined to challenge White power.
"Montgomery Bus Boycott
by Rosa's act of defiance, lasted
for almost a year. In defense of equal rights, Montgomery's whole black
population - representing the majority of bus travelers - boycotted
transport, and by so doing demonstrated, in the heart of Alabama, that
were a fundamental part of local society.
black passengers, the white-owned and run
bus company got
financial difficulty, and had to reduce services, causing problems for
remaining white passengers and job losses for white employees.
1956, the Supreme Court ruled that Alabama's segregation laws were
and another big fight in the struggle for Civil Rights had been won. A
later, a young black minister
the Reverend Martin
Rosa had sat a year earlier in a Montgomery bus, and no one told him to
The long struggle
for Civil Rights was not over, but a major battle had been won.
honor, prize - bestow
give to -
to - to
: refuse to use something - defy
[di'fai])- resist - distrust : questioning, suspicion - emancipation
liberation, the end of slavery - -
impudence, boldness - hauled
pulled - infuse
move into - minister
managed - slavery
: a slave is a person who is not free, but owned by another person
ignite, set light to -
confront -- trigger
: start - will
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Select the best alternative for
the following words or phrases that occur in the article, from those
repetitions / consequences / reactions
drawn / illustrated / intended
long-term / final / significant
take a stand:
resist / stop sitting / promote
is indebted to:
owes money to / owes respect to / owes nothing to
later / ago / earlier.
Find the opposites
of the following words, in the article:
.trust / tolerance /
sensible / traveling to work / equality / obedience / constitutional
conversation that took place between the bus driver and Rosa, that day
Tell the story from Rosa's point of view
of this resource is permitted