Listen-and-Read-Along MY HERO Stories - for ESL

Rosa Parks

by Francisca Stewart

Rosa Parks is an extraordinary person because she stood up against racism and stood up for herself. It was even harder for her because she was a woman, and in those days, things were much harder for women.

Rosa Parks hated the ways of her life. She had always dreamed of having freedom in her life. As she grew up, she went through different experiences that gave her courage and strength.

One day, Rosa Parks had so much courage and strength that when her bus arrived to pick her up, she got on the bus, put her money in the slot, and didn't move from her place on the bus when the driver told her to. Black people were supposed to sit in the back [and the "back" changed according to how many white people needed a seat]. The bus driver told her to move to the back, but she just sat there and refused to move. The driver called the police and they arrested Rosa Parks.

The next day, Raymond Parks went to pick up Rosa from jail. When they got home, Rosa spoke about her time in jail. She had stood up to get a drink of water and the guard told her the drinking fountain was only for white people. This made her furious.

On Dec. 5, 1955, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. and JoAnn Robinson looked out of their windows, stood on street corners around the city and watched the yellow buses pass by. There were hardly any black riders since Rosa Park's arrest. It was a miracle. People stopped riding the buses all because of Rosa Parks.

Soon, the police were informed of the people standing on the street corners watching the buses drive by. The police patrolled the streets to make sure that the black people were not bothering the other bus riders. The black people continued their boycott, and it was a success.

A few months later, Rosa Parks once again started to climb aboard a bus. She stopped when she noticed a sign that read, "People don't ride the bus today. Don't ride the bus for freedom." She got off.

Finally the rules for riding the buses were changed. The new rules said:

1. Black and white people could sit wherever they wanted to sit.
2. Bus drivers were to respect all riders.
3. Black people were now allowed to apply for driver positions.

A lot of people wrote hate mail to Rosa Parks. Some people called and threatened her and her family. She and her family were scared. They knew they were in serious danger, but Rosa Parks would not give up.

In 1979, Rosa Parks received the Spingarn Medal. In 1980, at the 25th anniversary celebration of the bus boycott, Parks was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Non-violent Peace Prize. In 1984, she was given the Eleanor Roosevelt Woman of Courage Award.

Rosa Parks is known as a national hero and as a shy girl who stood up against racism and fought for freedom.

Page created on 8/11/2014 11:01:00 AM

Last edited 2/9/2020 7:16:06 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Academy of Achievement - Read an interview with Rosa Parks. The Academy of Achievement brings students face-to-face with the extraordinary leaders, thinkers and pioneers who have shaped our world.

Extra Info

This story was written by Francisca Stewart, a fourth-grade student at the Santa Monica Alternative School.

Stamp drawing courtesy of Rebecca

Photo of Rosa Parks on the bus courtesy of the Seattle Times and UPI

A guest called Sweetness wrote in the MY HERO guest book about Rosa Parks:
Rosa Parks has always been my hero ever since I heard about her in grade school. I remember sitting there thinking that what she did was absolutely extraordinary. It is hard to stand up for your rights when you feel you are alone, but when it is something that you feel strongly about, you are never alone. She is a great inspiration to me with my daily struggles.

Aliyah from Cherry hill wrote to MY HERO about Rosa Parks:

My hero is Rosa Parks. The reason I picked her is because she was a freedom fighter. I wish I could be her so I could be a famous freedom fighter. Rosa was known as the Mother of the Movement.

Rosa Parks lived in Tuskegee, Ala. People were rushing home after a hard day, and, at 42 years old, Rosa was one of them. She had a busy day at her tailoring job. There were not enough seats on the bus, so when a white man entered and wanted to sit, the bus driver told Rosa to stand. She refused and was arrested.

Rosa had a lot of friends, like Martin L. King Jr. When he found out about what happened to her, he was upset. He told a lot of people and they all got upset and had a strike. They did not give up. And that's why I want to be like her.

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