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Rosa Parks, Civil Rights Activist This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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Whether you are a stressed-out teenager wrapped up in piles of homework or an aspiring author tangled up in scandalous accusations of plagiarism, we all encounter obstacles in our lives. When confronted with difficulties, most people seek the easy way out by simply ignoring the problem. Unfortunately, people merely stall the inevitable, detrimental results by refusing to face the problem. The dauntless Rosa Parks, however, proved to the world that even the most formid­able foe can be conquered through conviction, courage, and determination.

Rosa Parks epitomizes an individual who, regardless of consequences, followed her beliefs. Parks endured cruel torment and disdain when she secured her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. As the police carried her away, she remained stoic, inured to the taunting of others. Instead of recoiling in fear, Parks pursued and fought for her rights. Not only did her simple, groundbreaking act of bravery inspire other civil-rights luminaries including Martin Luther King Jr., but it has also guided my path to overcoming obstacles.

When my family immigrated to the United States from Korea, I had a difficult time adjusting. An introvert by nature, I withdrew nervously when a friendly group of girls approached me, and refused to speak with peers for fear of humiliating myself. Just as I was starting to understand, a boy named Manuel taunted my broken English by jeering, “Jane’s dumb.” Fortunately, I neither recoiled from his remark, nor begged my parents to move back to Korea, where I was the smart, popular girl; instead, like Parks, I endured and decided to prove people like Manuel wrong.

From then on, I attempted to engage in conversations with others, even if it only meant replying yes, no, and an occasional maybe to incomprehensible questions. I voraciously read books written for children two grades below me, and I eagerly concocted short stories every night, no matter how many grammar or usage errors I made. I answered all the math questions in class, proudly glancing at Manuel every time the teacher applauded me.

Toward the end of the school year, when a classmate invited me to her sleepover party, I realized I had finally conquered the seemingly insurmountable challenges of learning a new language, adapting to a new culture, and befriending my new peers.

More than 50 years have passed since Rosa Parks’ admirable act of courage, yet its impact persists to this day. She shattered a racial barrier, whereas I climbed over linguistic and cultural walls. Ignorance and avoidance are not the answers to overcoming hindrances. Rather, as American writer Orison Swett Marden stated, “Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

blf496 said...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 7:33 am:
DUDE! tamtam was so jealous of your article...it was actually extravaegant...when i pressed this article i thought it was going to be about superman or batman, but this was a pleasent surprise..THANKS DUDE
 
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Valkyrie_123 said...
Jun. 22, 2009 at 6:49 am:
yeah more facts about her would be swell
 
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TamTam said...
Feb. 6, 2009 at 2:37 am:
It sounds like your talking about your self rather than Rosa parks herself.I want to know more facts about her.
 
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