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Extra info for Rosa Parks: Civil Rights Leader (Black Americans of Achievement)

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Parks’s time at the school in August 1955 encouraged her enthusiasm for her social causes. Decision,” and she paid for the cost of Parks’s transportation to and from the school. The 10 days that Parks spent at the Highlander Folk School at the end of August 1955 constituted one of the most important experiences of her life. It marked the first time she had ever been north of Alabama, and the rugged beauty of the land­ scape took her breath away. More important, she completed the workshop with a heightened sense of self-confidence and commitment to social change.

Although the armed forces themselves were still segregated (Sylvester McCauley, who would see service in the European and Pacific theaters of war during World War II, had been drafted the year before), blacks and whites shared the same facilities at Maxwell Field, which had been integrated by virtue of an order issued by President Franklin D. S. military bases. Ray also obtained a job on the base, as a barber, and Rosa rode on integrated trolleys. But the instant she stepped off the base to go home, it was back to the old segregated system, and she had to ride in the rear of the city buses.

One of the biggest struggles Parks experienced in working on such cases was getting black witnesses to come forward to testify against whites. “I happened to be the secretary of the Montgomery branch of the NAACP as well as the NAACP Youth Council adviser,” Parks began her explanation about previous bus incidents for the oral history Voices of Freedom. ” Black witnesses feared reprisals against themselves, their homes, and their families if they dared to accuse a white person of a crime. Once Parks tried to take a statement for the NAACP from a black minister who had run 15 miles to Montgomery to report a murder.

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