Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks by Becky Smith on Prezi
Dr. King's Speech Rosa Parks, the "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement," visited the Scholastic website in . We teach them to be good citizens and do what they can do to help other Do you think the relationships between the different races are where they How did you feel when Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed?. Find information about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Junior, the little Rock Nine , and other heroes of the American civil rights movement. By Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jeanne Theoharis This is the second Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks on the Dangers They Faced in the Civil Rights Movement Toward the close of the meeting, as I stood on the platform helping . years of their marriage when he was the more prominent activist.
I mean, again, if you look at polls in the early 60s, most Americans do not agree. And if we look at how King, for instance, was received in California in the early 60s, and this is beforeWatts Uprising. King is in and out of LA a number of times in the early 60s, including in Inafter much work and much civil rights activities, you see California pass a fair housing law, and white people go crazy, realtors go crazy. And they get on the ballot, Prop 14 inon the November ballot which is going to be the presidential election, and basically trying to repeal this law.
And King comes multiple times, right? And King is repeatedly called a communist, King is picketed, King is denounced for that work in California in And then we will see, white Californians by a 3: And what King will call this is a vote for ghettos, right?
And King was then blamed for bringing the violence into the Chicago area. The biggest civil rights demonstration of the s is not the March on Washington, it is a school boycott that happens in February here in New York City. And so finally, in February ofthey decide to have a school boycott. Aboutstudents and teachers stay out of school, so this is almost twice the number of the March on Washington. A month later, in protest of this, about 15, mostly white mothers march over the Brooklyn Bridge in protest of a very modest school desegregation plan that the Board of Ed is floating: Pictures of that march, as my colleague Matt Delmont writes about in his book, end up being played over and over as Congress is debating Civil Rights Act.
And one of the less talked about aspects of the Civil Rights Act, one of the things the Civil Rights Act does, is it ties federal money for schools to school desegregation. But northern and western liberal sponsors of the bill write in a loophole for their schools, which is evident the time, Southerners are furious about this, that basically says school desegregation shall not mean, you know, having to change racially imbalanced schools.
And so, I think, over and over, you see northerners unwilling and angry and furious when sort of the lens comes on their own practices. Ok, fine, Martin Luther King was an unrepentant radical, I get that. She was a tired old seamstress who refused to give up her seat on the bus and it sparked an entire movement because she did that.
They fall in love. And Raymond is working on Scottsboro. Scottsboro is a group of young men, nine young men, ages 12 to 19, get arrested for riding the rails. These are young black men. But in the midst of this arrest, police also discover, in a neighboring car two young white women doing this. And that charge quickly changes to rape. These young men are quickly tried and all but the youngest, who is 12, sentenced to death.
And so, this local movement grows in Alabama to try to prevent the execution of these young men. And Raymond Parks as one of the local activists on the ground working on that movement.
She wants to register to vote. Working on issues of voter registration, and issues that we would consider criminal justice. So, two kinds of issues: So, she spent more than a decade, when we get to that day inworking and trying and over and over and over, and largely they get nowhere. Most of these cases go nowhere. One of the barriers, I should say, I should explain, to voting is you have to take a test.
But that test is different for white people than for black people. And then, Rosa Parks will spend the second half of her life fighting the racism of the Jim Crow north. And so, eight months later, they are forced to leave Montgomery and move to Detroit where her brother and cousins are living.
And again, if you knew that she lived in Detroit, it often is talked about as kind of the last sense, and then, figuratively, she lived happily ever after. How does this happen? Because it certainly has happened with Martin Luther King and it certainly has happened with Rosa Parks and it certainly has happened with the broader civil rights movement.
Or is it just a collective sense of denial that then, you know, snowballs into this huge avalanche of bullshit?
How did this happen? I think it happens in a number of ways. Basically from the minute that King is assassinated, John Conyers introduces a bill for a federal holiday for Martin Luther King. A couple years later, the SDLC delivers a petition with three million names on it. No action from Congress. Throughout the s, people are trying to get Congress to act.
I think a couple things happened. One, in trying to convince Congress, what you see is the images of King are getting more universalized. And he comes to see the idea of signing the bill for the King holiday as useful to show kind of how progressive he is.
Right, and so this, I think, is a signal moment in terms of the realization, right? These kinds of things. And, I think, the change is he starts to see how this could be politically useful for him, and we start to see in the language that he uses this mythology about how the civil Rights movement, in many ways, proves how great America is.
Or, so this idea that I talk about in my new book, of America as a kind of self-cleaning oven. And I think we see a similar thing with Rosa Parks. Both in the national funeral rehab for Rosa Parks following her death inless than two months after Hurricane Katrina, right?
Why do we have a national funeral for Rosa Parks? Look, look who we are! This woman who was denied a seat on the bus! And that reaches this apex with the election of Barack Obama.
And that this is the dream being fulfilled. It is excruciatingly hard to act in the moment. I mean I think we saw that a few months ago. What did take to the Pope?
An extraordinarily gorgeous present. I would like to take that to the Pope, too. Right, so, the ways that it becomes politically useful to sort of say, look at the civil rights movement. He just seems to be doing great things. You know Trump, Trump brings up, you know, Frederick Douglass out of nowhere and clearly has no concept of who Frederick Douglass was or his writings.
And yet, you know, once again using it as — I mean, he fumbled it tremendously there, to talk like Trump. But still he was, he learned that tactic. So, this, from Reagan to Bush one to Bush two to Clinton to Obama to Trump, right, the use of the civil rights movement is kind of over and over taken on a way of making, of kind of elevating kind of our sense of selves and not taken seriously as what does it actually ask of us today. And, in many ways, what I try to do in the book is sort of get us past this fable.
To a much more sober and fuller history and kind of what that shows us, right? When you look at sort of, again, what people would do in this city, in New York City, around school over and over and over and over and over and over and over, we never get comprehensive desegregation in New York City ever. Brian Stephen talks to us about how history needs to make us feel uncomfortable.
I was just curious about the, you know, what is beneath it. I was allowed to read. My mother, who was a teacher, taught me when I was a very young child.
The first school I attended was a small building that went from first to sixth grade. There was one teacher for all of the students. There could be anywhere from 50 to 60 students of all different ages. From 5 or 6 years old to in their teens. We went to school five months out of the year. The rest of the time young people would be available to work on the farm. The parents had to buy whatever the student used. Often, if your family couldn't afford it, you had no access to books, pencils, whatever.
However, often the children would share. I read very often. That particular day that I decided was not the first time I had trouble with that particular driver. He evicted me before, because I would not go around to the back door after I was already onto the bus. The evening that I boarded the bus, and noticed that he was the same driver, I decided to get on anyway.
I did not sit at the very front of the bus; I took a seat with a man who was next to the window -- the first seat that was allowed for "colored" people to sit in.
We were not disturbed until we reached the third stop after I boarded the bus. At this point a few white people boarded the bus, and one white man was left standing. When the driver noticed him standing, he spoke to us the man and two women across the aisle and told us to let the man have the seat. The other three all stood up. But the driver saw me still sitting there. He said would I stand up, and I said, "No, I will not.
So he didn't move the bus any further. Several black people left the bus. Two policemen got on the bus in a couple of minutes. The driver told the police that I would not stand up. The policeman walked down and asked me why I didn't stand up, and I said I didn't think I should stand up. And he said, "I don't know. But the law is the law and you are under arrest. One of them picked up my purse, the other picked up my shopping bag. And we left the bus together. It was the first time I'd had that particular thing happen.
I was determined that I let it be known that I did not want to be treated in this manner. The policemen had their squad car waiting, they gave me my purse and bag, and they opened the back door of the police car for me to enter. Did you think your actions would have such a far-reaching effect on the Civil Rights movement? I didn't have any idea just what my actions would bring about. At the time I was arrested I didn't know how the community would react. I was glad that they did take the action that they did by staying off the bus.
What was it like walking all those miles when the bus boycott was going on? We were fortunate enough to have a carpool organized to pick people up and give them rides. Of course, many people walked and sometimes I did too. I was willing to walk rather than go back to the buses under those unfair conditions. Very shortly after the boycott began, I was dismissed from my job as a seamstress at a department store.
I worked at home doing sewing and typing. I don't know why I was dismissed from the job, but I think it was because I was arrested. What did your family think about what happened? After I was in jail I had the opportunity to call home and speak to my mother. The first thing she asked me was if they had attacked me, beat me. That's what they used to do to people. I said no, that I hadn't been hurt, but I was in jail. She gave the phone to my husband and he said he would be there shortly and would get me out of jail.
There was a man who had come to my house who knew I had been arrested. He told my husband he'd give him a ride to the jail. He called to see if I was at the jail. The people at the jail wouldn't tell him I was there. Nixon got in touch with a white lawyer named Clifford Durr.
Durr called the jail, and they told him that I was there. Nixon had to pick up Mr.
Durr before he could come get me. Durr's wife insisted on going too, because she and I were good friends. Nixon helped release me from jail. Were you scared to do such a brave thing? No, actually I had no fear at that particular time.
When I did realize, I faced it, and it was quite a challenge to be arrested. I did not really know what would happen.
I didn't feel especially frightened. I felt more annoyed than frightened. Did you know that you were going to jail if you didn't give up your seat? Well, I knew I was going to jail when the driver said he was going to have me arrested.
I didn't feel good about going to jail, but I was willing to go to let it be known that under this type of segregation, black people had endured too much for too long. How did you feel when you were asked to give up your seat? I didn't feel very good about being told to stand up and not have a seat.
I felt I had a right to stay where I was. That was why I told the driver I was not going to stand. I believed that he would arrest me. I did it because I wanted this particular driver to know that we were being treated unfairly as individuals and as a people.
What were your feelings when you were able to sit in the front of the bus for the first time? It was something rather special. However, when I knew the boycott was over, and that we didn't have to be mistreated on the bus anymore, that was a much better feeling than I had when we were being mistreated.
How do you feel about being called the "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement"? I accept the title quite well.
The Sanitizing of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks
I appreciate the fact that people feel that way about me. I don't know who started calling me that. Civil Rights Today What one lesson would you like to leave with students?