Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the inspirational story of Rosa Parks and how her refusal to move seats on a bus, 65 years ago this week, helped change America for the better.
America in 1950s is still scarred by the impact of the evils of slavery. Slavery might have been abolished but mean laws have replaced them in the South of the United States which make life very difficult for black people. They are sent to different schools, they have to eat in different sections of restaurants and use different sections of toilets. Seats at the front of buses are reserved for white people, whereas black people have to sit at the back of the bus. It’s not just the laws, day to day they are often bullied by some of the white people.
Rosa Parks is a black lady living in Montgomery, Alabama. She has experienced racism all her life. One day the bus driver tells her to move seats to make space for white people. She decides enough is enough. She refuses to move seats. The police are called and Rosa Parks is arrested. Rosa Parks is taken to the court house and convicted and fined.
But the black people of Alabama have had enough too. Lead by inspirational leaders such as Martin Luther King they decide to take a stand. On behalf of Rosa Parks they organise a boycott of the City’s bus network. For over a year black people refused to travel on the buses. Meanwhile Martin Luther King and others organised different court cases to try to overturn the racist bus rules. Eventually they are successful. The efforts of people like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks doesn’t only improve the bus situation but also many of the other laws are changed so that black people can no longer be discriminated against in law.
Rosa Parks continues her campaigning all her life. When she died she is honoured by her home town of Montgomery and also by the whole United States. Her stand against racism and against the bus laws of Alabama help to change a nation for the better.
If you liked this episode you might also like our episode on the Slave Trade:
Or you might also like our episode on great black women of Britain:
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