Rosa Parks and The Freedom Movement
Rosa Parks on November 28, 1988, after receiving the Congressional Medal of Freedom. (AP Photo / Paul Sancya)

Hi, everybody. I hope you’re well. In the first part of this lesson, we went through the expression once in a blue moon. In part two, which you’re listening to right now, you’ll learn all about Rosa Parks, who is often called The First Lady of Civil Rights and the Mother of the Freedom Movement.

I’ve chosen this topic for today, not just because it’s a great topic, but because we’re nearing June 19th. That’s also known as Juneteenth, which is a federal holiday in the United States. And it’s a day to commemorate the emancipation of slaves.

To be emancipated means to be set free from political or social restrictions.

June 19th, 1865, was the first day that the last state with institutional slavery, Texas, abolished it. In other words, they prohibited it. They no longer allowed it. They got rid of it. They abolished it.

In order to give you a very clear image of the United States Rosa was born into, we’re going to start today by talking a little bit about history. And to be frank, I’m not sure I am the best person to share this history with you, but I hope at the end of this lesson you will have some sort of topic to talk about in your English class.

It’s hard, it’s dark, but it’s a part of American history.

In public school, we start learning about the long and complex history of race relations between caucasians, or specifically white Americans and black Americans, African Americans, as early as fourth grade. That’s when we’re about ten years old.

The story they teach at school usually begins with slavery. And here we begin.

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white passenger on a segregated bus. The bus driver had her arrested. (Photo by Associated Press).

Black people were taken from Africa to the United States to work as slaves in the early 17th and 18th centuries. History.com estimates that in that time frame, 6 to 7 million slaves were transported on ships. Many of the enslaved families were brought to the Deep South. That’s where they worked long, hard hours on cotton, sugar, corn and tobacco plantations.

You’ll sometimes hear the Deep South referred to as the Cotton States because cotton was and still is a cash crop.

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