I am an African American woman and I would like to say that I am a free person. For all my life, I have strived to persuade my neighbors that we are the same equal, as the white people. Perhaps, for such an aim, the US Congress considers me a mother of the contemporary civil rights movement. I was born in February 4, 1913 in Alabama to a family of Methodists. Unfortunately, I did not get a high-level education, as I studied in the local school and then in the school for girls in Montgomery. I could not finish my education in Montgomery, as my health was weak and I had to take care of my sick mother and grandmother. My neighbors knew me as a seamstress as well. In 1932, I married my beloved Raymond, who was an active human rights defender. Precisely due to my husband’s influence, I began to visit the meetings of the Communist Party.
It is not easy to say exactly why I became so worried because of the civil rights African American had at that time. Perhaps, because of the total injustice experienced myself. May be, because of an image of a better future the nations should have today. In any case, I felt the atmosphere of changes and a necessity of global social transformations in America. Precisely because of such convictions and strong belief, I rejected to give place to a white citizen in a bus. This occasion happened December 1, 1955 in Montgomery and actually became a turning point in my life.
Apparently, I was imprisoned after such a refusal for a violation of the public order. It is important to mention that my decision was caused by a feeling of the new consciousness awakening, since I was a secretary of the Human Rights Department in NAACP in Montgomery. Besides, I visited the Highlander Folk School, which was a center for training the activists for the labor rights and racial equality in the state of Tennessee. To my mind, I have got a reliable and strong background for the initial statements that all people are free and equal by nature.
Despite such a background knowledge, I refused to give a sit for the white precisely because I got tired to obey. I am an independent individual, I am a worthy person, and I should be respected. I was pleased to see that my little action caused a massive boycott of public transport throughout my native Montgomery. The boycott lasted 381 days and made Martin Luther King a popular leader we all love and respect. It was especially pleasant to see the result of the boycott, as the US Supreme Court prohibited the racial segregation in bus transport services.
I felt it was a true win, since I became aware I was not alone in my readiness to start fighting for our African American civil rights. Despite I lost my job in Montgomery, I got the new strength to continue my path of independence. In the 1960s, I met Malcolm X, an outstanding person, whom I can considered my personal hero. I could not share all of Malcolm’s ideas, since I always remained faithful to the movement of nonviolent resistance. In the 1960s and the 1970s, I strived to help African Americans to become free and was engaged in the campaigns for the liberation of African American political prisoners.
In my Autobiography, which I wrote being retired and living in Detroit in the 1990s, I depicted my own way and efforts to become free. I would like people remember me as a free person, who helped others to become free too. Racial segregation is a true shame in the history of humanity in general and the USA in particular. Everybody can be engaged in the civil rights movement, as the only thing you need is to have strong belief and awareness of the necessity to transform society.