Sample History Paper on Historical Impact of Rosa Parks

Introduction

Almost every society across the globe has witnessed social actors who have played a significant role in influencing public policy and debate through social movements made of organized groups striving toward a common social goal. Much evidence suggests that social actors not only respond to but also try to sway public opinion. Even though most of us have learned about social actors or agents in history classes, most of the fundamental changes that they caused have been taken for granted. From the anti-tobacco actors who have worked to outlaw smoking in public buildings while championing to raise the cost of cigarettes to those responsible for recent uprisings throughout the Arab world amongst others, classical and contemporary actors have been responsible for creating social change on local, regional and global scale[1].

This paper will make a detailed attempt and focus on some of individuals and groups who influenced public policy and debate in society. More so, the paper will focus on individuals and groups of actors who protested against government’s omnibus bills and other types of legislations that generated much debate and overall change process to be realized in the society[2].

 

 

Historical Impact of Rosa Parks

A very influential and widely read figure often referred to as the “mother civil rights movements” was Rosa Parks[3]. She is famously known for having influenced the Montgomery bus boycott especially among the black community in the United States. Majority of the history of the United States did witness situations where minority groups such as the black people were made to undergo several injustices. In 1955, Rosa Parks had boarded a bus to work. Blacks were allowed to sit as long as there were enough seats for whites. However, as the bus continued with its journey, more whites boarded it and since there was no space, Rosa Parks was asked to move so that a white man could sit down. She did refuse and was immediately arrested and charged for violating segregation laws[4].

Rosa Park’s act of defiance not only changed her but also influenced and changed the course of the larger American society in a number of ways. As indicated earlier, Parks became known as the mother of civil rights movements due to her refusal to offer her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Earlier on, Parks and her husband had been involved with the NAACP fight for civil liberties and the Voter’s league in addition to raising money to support a group of young black men falsely accused of raping two white women[5]. Her fight for equality started long before but it was her refusal to offer her seat to a white fellow that really marked the highest points of her activism career.

Rosa Parks call for equality of all persons in America and her subsequent arrest did influence public debate and numerous protests especially across the black community. For instance, The Women’s Political Council did protest Park’s mistreatment by organizing a bus boycott on the day of Park’s trial. Other activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. continued boycotting the buses to the extent of influencing the policy makers to change segregation laws and also hire black bus drivers. The boycott did last for 382 days thereby costing the bus company a great deal of money. Even though the bus company did not give in, a lawsuit filed on June 4, 1956 in the Supreme Court declared the Montgomery segregation laws illegal[6].

Rosa Parks did outlive many of her contemporaries and witness firsthand the effects of the Civil Rights Movement. After refusing to give up her seat, she influenced public debate and policy change to the extent of ending legalized segregation that was in existence in America by then. Her efforts led to the emergence of black upper and middle class citizens with people of color enjoying unparalleled access to basic opportunities as their white counterparts[7]. Her decision not to give up her seat to white person did awaken and influenced the marginalized black communities to rise up and challenge for what they believed was rightfully theirs. Her struggles did not go unnoticed. The federal government by then was forced to act while policy makers redrafted laws that did not favor the black community living in America by then[8]. Apart from individual persons, such as Rosa Parks, other groups of people have formed organizations with an aim of championing for certain ends as highlighted below.

Influence and impacts of the Idle No More group

As evident, social actors or agents are groups of organized people working towards a common goal exerted through social control or social suggestions, public opinion, union, club, religion and appeal amongst others for purposes meant to promote group welfare. Such groups of actors may be attempting to sway public opinion while attempting to either create change, resist change or working to influence or provide a political voice to the disenfranchised persons in the society. A prominent and national group in recent years, which has influenced public debate was a group known as Idle No More[9]. Idle No More was a protest movement organized by four women in November 2012. It was a grassroots movement common among the Aboriginal people of Canada and supported by non-Aborigines consisting of political actions.

By then, the four Aboriginal women organized an event in Saskatchewan for purposes of protesting against the Conservative government’s C-45 omnibus bill. The four women (Nina Wilson, Sheelah Mclean, Sylvia McAdam, and Jessica Gordon), were against proposed number of omnibus bills that introduced sweeping legislative changes that threatened the indigenous lives of the Aboriginal people. For instance, the bill proposed the removal of protection for forests and waterways in addition to the removal of the term “absolute surrender” among others[10].

One of the most contentious features of the bill that concerned the aboriginal people a lot were the government’s lack of consultation with them on a number of provisions such as the Indian Act, the Navigation Protection Act, and others such as the Environmental Assessment Act. The government proposed a number of bills that affected First Nations people and according to the indigenous groups, the federal government was working in bad faith especially with Aboriginal people’s interests[11]. In other words, the government of Canada was practicing open discrimination against the nations original inhabitants by coming up with bills and legislations that worked against them.

It is for the above reasons that the founders of Idle No More in association with other social actors and individuals within the society started a campaign aimed at fighting or championing for their rights. For instance, a month after the formation of the group, Idle No More conducted a national day of action and this was an event that saw Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat First Nation taking a 43-day hunger strike on the Ottawa River island near Parliament Hill[12]. Her hunger strike galvanized national and overall public attention on matters to do with aboriginal issues. Later, numerous protests characterized by flash mobs and violent protests and temporary blockades were carried out in many places across the country. Chief Spence’s major demand was the need to set up a meeting with the Governor General and the prime minister for purposes of discussing issues that affected the aboriginal communities in Canada. She argued that aboriginal sovereignty and previous treaty negotiations were matters whose origins preceded the establishment of the State of Canada[13].

As indicated earlier, the society is made up with social actors who speak out against certain vice in a community thereby influencing public policy and debate. In this case, individuals such as Spence, Wilson, Mclean, McAdam, and Jessica Gordon attempted to change the way the Canadian society had discriminated the Aboriginal people. Idle No More founders influenced public policy and debate across Canada to the extent of making the government consider its original stand. For instance, it is reported Spence and other social actors ended their hunger strike after the government obliged and signed a 13-point declaration that demanded the government to reconsider its original position by reviewing Bills C-45 and C-38. Such declarations did put in place mechanisms that ensured aboriginal consultation on government legislation, improve treaty negotiations, improve aboriginal housing, initiate an enquiry into missing aboriginal women, and better aboriginal education amongst other commitments[14].

A perfect example of the above scenario played itself on some of the major landmark rulings on native rights in Canada. In this ruling, the Court of Appeal decision forced the federal government of Canada to amend the Indian Act for purposes of eliminating open discrimination against the children and wives of non-status Indians. The case was launched by social actors for change such as Sharon Mclvor, a B.C aboriginal woman married to a non-status Indian, and her son, married to a non-status Indian too who could not legally pass on Indian status to his children. They challenged their case alleging that the Indian Act violated rights to gender equality hence the ruling by the appeal court on the plaintiffs’ favor on the need to amend the legislation[15]. As evident, these are efforts led by social actors that generated so much debate to the extent of causing change against a vice such as discrimination that existed in the society. The actors were broader in their concerns and more radical in championing for the demands of the aboriginal communities.

SOURCE:https://www.google.com/search?q=idle+no+more+movement&client=firefox-b&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwixmq_m3KLOAhVGWxoKHfOoDDwQ_AUICygE&biw=1366&bih=657#imgrc=XNT31HFeh5pcxM%3A

 

Impacts of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

In close relations to the above, other groups or actors that have been at the forefront against the fight of certain immoral or wicked behavior in the society such as discrimination is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). This is an interracial American group created to champion for the abolition of discrimination and segregation of in education, housing, voting, employment, transportation and oppose racism while ensuring African Americans enjoyed their constitutional rights[16]. Founded on February 1909, the NAACP is America’s oldest, largest and widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organizations with more than half-million supporters and members spread throughout the United States.

Just like the Idle No More group, NAACP had its own founders made up of interracial groups of people such as W.E.B Du Bois, Mary White Ovington, Ida Bell Well-Barnet amongst others who were concerned with the challenges faced by the black community in America. This is especially in the wake of the 1908 Springfield (Illinois) Race Riot (Watson, Denton and Christine, 2016). The NAACP was formed partly to respond to the practice of lynching and other forms of violence committed against the blacks in the United States. More importantly though, the group’s founders championed or called for a meeting to discuss aspects of racial justice in the US. Since the black people arrived in the United States as laborers forced to work in cotton farms, they have suffered acts of discrimination and injustice that continues up to modern times. This was the prime motivator behind the formation of the group that generated much public debate and opinions in the country[17].           As indicated above, the NAACP was created in response to the horrific lynchings that took place especially in the southern United States. The actors fought to secure the constitutional rights that were guaranteed in a number of amendments that sought to establish an end to slavery, ensure equal protection under the law, and universal male suffrage. Apart from persuading President Woodrow Wilson to denounce lynching in 1918, other areas that social actors of the group did succeed in are political actions such as securing the enactment of civil rights laws, better education programs for blacks, and other direct actions meant to achieve specific goals.

In 1939, the NAACP was established as an independent legal arm to the extent of influencing the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling of 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka on matters to do with school-desegregation[18]. Another significant victory won by the group was Morgan v. Virginia case in 1961 where the court successfully barred segregation at the interstate travel that set the stage for the Freedom Rides of 1961. While those goals have been achieved, the organization remains active today as it continues fighting against inequalities in civil rights and instances of discriminatory practices that are prevalent in the society.

Since the formation of the NAACP, the group did not have significant national outlook across the United States bit after the murder of its field director known as Medgar Evers in 1963, the group gained national prominence almost immediately resulting to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. During the 1980s, the NAACP argued against apartheid in places such as South Africa while opening more offices in Maryland, New York City and Baltimore and many other places across the United States. With the turn of the new century, the group has been influential in shaping public policy and debate as it has worked on sponsoring programs against youth violence, increased voter drives for increased participation, encouraged economic enterprise especially among African Americans[19].

The NAACP is known for employing certain strategies that such as pickets, demonstrations, marches and sit-ins as means of publicizing their interests or trying to influence public opinion and public officials on matters to do with the improvement of the status of blacks. Aside from its opposition against lynching, NAACP fought a bitter battle against racial injustices in the courts based on race and color. Other notable areas where the NAACP took a lot of interest were the “White Primary” policy that effectively disenfranchised southern blacks and excluded them from voting[20].

Even though much of NAACP history has been chronicled in books, pamphlets, magazines and articles, the true movement lies in the faces of social actors made of men, women and children of diverse multicultural army of ordinary people from every walk of life, class and race that were united and influenced hence awakening people’s consciousness and that of the nation. According to Huddy, heading into the 21st century, it is evident that members of NAACP continue to exert its influence in the society as it focuses on disparities in health care, education, economics, and voter empowerment while continuing with its efforts as a legal advocate for civil rights issues.

 

SOURCE: https://progressivismrace.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/lynching_515.jpg

Conclusion

To conclude, social actors have been a part of nearly every society across the globe. The society is made up of individuals and groups who have risen up and continue doing so with an effort of eradicating a certain vice that may be prevalent in the society. Rosa Parks did it. Other groups such as Idle No More and NAACP amongst others have been the voice of the marginalized in society. The actions and opinions have shaped public debate and policy change in the society. Their efforts to foster equality for all has been widely read and acknowledged by scholars and other academicians across the globe. Their efforts have influenced people to act locally, regionally and internationally.

 

Bibliography

Andrews, Kenneth T., and Sarah Gaby. “Local Protest and Federal Policy: The Impact of the Civil Rights Movement on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.” Sociological Forum 30, (June 2, 2015): 509-527.

Barker, Adam J. “‘A Direct Act of Resurgence, a Direct Act of Sovereignty’: Reflections on Idle No More, Indigenous Activism, and Canadian Settler Colonialism.” Globalizations 12, no. 1 (February 2015): 43-65.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. (2016).

Catsam, Derek Charles. “Mister, This is not Your Fight!”: The 1961 Montgomery Freedom Ride Riots.” Studies In The Literary Imagination 40, no. 2 (Fall2007 2007): 93-109.

Gilio-Whitaker, Dina. “Idle No More and Fourth World Social Movements in the New Millennium.” South Atlantic Quarterly 114, no. 4 (October 2015): 866-877.

Huddy, Leonie. “Justice in America: The Separate Realities of Blacks and Whites.” Political Psychology 35, no. 2 (April 2014): 304-305.

John, Sonja. 2015. “Idle No More – Indigenous Activism And Feminism”. TIA 8 (4): 38-54.

Krinsky, John, and Nick Crossley. “Social Movements and Social Networks: Introduction.” Social Movement Studies 13, no. 1 (January 2014): 1-21.

“Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement.” Publishers Weekly 256, no. 22 (June 2009): 41.

McIvor v. Canada (2009). (2016).

McGhee, Felicia. “The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Fall of the Montgomery City Lines.” Alabama Review 68, no. 3 (July 2015): 251-268.

Newson, Adele S. “On the Bus with Rosa Parks (Book Review).” World Literature Today 74, no. 1 (Winter2000 2000): 165.

Parks, Virginia. “Rosa Parks Redux: Racial Mobility Projects on the Journey to Work.” Annals Of The American Association Of Geographers 106, no. 2 (March 2016): 292-299.

Wade-Lewis, Margaret. “I Remember Rosa Parks: The Impact of Segregation.” Black Scholar 35, no. 4 (Winter2006 2006): 2-12.

[1] Andrews, Kenneth T., and Sarah Gaby. “Local Protest and Federal Policy: The Impact of the Civil Rights Movement on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.” Sociological Forum 30, (June 2, 2015): 509-527.

 

[2] Krinsky, John, and Nick Crossley. “Social Movements and Social Networks: Introduction.” Social Movement Studies 13, no. 1 (January 2014): 1-21

[3] Newson, Adele S. “On the Bus with Rosa Parks (Book Review).” World Literature Today 74, no. 1 (Winter2000 2000): 165.

 

[4] McGhee, Felicia. “The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Fall of the Montgomery City Lines.” Alabama Review 68, no. 3 (July 2015): 251-268.

 

[5] Zangrando, Robert L., Dennis B. Downey, and Raymond M. Hyser. 1991. “No Crooked Death: Coatesville, Pennsylvania, And The Lynching Of Zachariah Walker.”. The Journal Of American History 78 (3): 1116.

 

[6] Parks, Virginia. “Rosa Parks Redux: Racial Mobility Projects on the Journey to Work.” Annals Of The American Association Of Geographers 106, no. 2 (March 2016): 292-299.

 

[7] Wade-Lewis, Margaret. “I Remember Rosa Parks: The Impact of Segregation.” Black Scholar 35, no. 4 (Winter2006 2006): 2-12.

 

[8] Catsam, Derek Charles. “Mister, This is not Your Fight!”: The 1961 Montgomery Freedom Ride Riots.” Studies In The Literary Imagination 40, no. 2 (Fall2007 2007): 93-109.

 

[9] John, Sonja. 2015. “Idle No More – Indigenous Activism And Feminism”. TIA 8 (4): 38-54.

[10] Barker, Adam J. “‘A Direct Act of Resurgence, a Direct Act of Sovereignty’: Reflections on Idle No More, Indigenous Activism, and Canadian Settler Colonialism.” Globalizations 12, no. 1 (February 2015): 43-65.

 

[11] Gilio-Whitaker, Dina. “Idle No More and Fourth World Social Movements in the New Millennium.” South Atlantic Quarterly 114, no. 4 (October 2015): 866-877.

 

[12] John, Sonja. 2015. “Idle No More – Indigenous Activism And Feminism”. TIA 8 (4): 38-54.

 

[13] John, Sonja. 2015. “Idle No More – Indigenous Activism And Feminism”. TIA 8 (4): 38-54.

 

[14] John, Sonja. 2015. “Idle No More – Indigenous Activism And Feminism”. TIA 8 (4): 38-54.

 

[15] McIvor v. Canada (2009). (2016).

 

[16] “Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement.” Publishers Weekly 256, no. 22 (June 2009): 41.

 

[17] Watson, Denton L., and Christine Tomassini. “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).” Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. 2, no. 4 (2 August 2016): 1580-1600.

 

[18] Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. (2016).

 

[19] Zangrando, Robert L., Dennis B. Downey, and Raymond M. Hyser. 1991. “No Crooked Death: Coatesville, Pennsylvania, And The Lynching Of Zachariah Walker.”. The Journal of American History 78 (3): 1116.

 

[20] Huddy, Leonie. “Justice in America: The Separate Realities of Blacks and Whites.” Political Psychology 35, no. 2 (April 2014): 304-305.