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Sheenan’s assessment of 20th-century freedom movements, that individuals are more significant than events, can be proven accurate through the evaluation of Rosa Parks’s refusal to move off a ‘whites only’ bus seat, Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, and Charles Perkins’ freedom rides.
Many world events regarding human rights have been shaped by individual people. These events, influenced by Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and Charles Perkins, involve exposing and attempting to eliminate injustices faced by racial minorities. These individuals’ actions proved integral in securing equal rights for all.
A famous civil rights activist, who gained notoriety from her refusal to move off a “whites only” seat on an Alabama bus, Rosa Parks clearly displays the accuracy of Sheenan’s statement. In an interview with Rosa, she claimed: “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in”. In saying this, Rosa expressed that she could no longer endure the inequalities faced by African- Americans. As a result of this personal protest against the segregated bus lines, Parks was arrested. After being arrested, African-Americans of the town of Montgomery, Alabama, were inspired by Rosa’s actions and saw an opportunity to annihilate certain prejudices. The people of the town hastily organized a one-day boycott, in which they would refuse to use the bus lines, however, this single-day event rapidly transformed into the 381 day Montgomery Bus Boycott. Eventually, this boycott led to the district court declaring that “segregation is unconstitutional”. This proves that without individuals like Rosa Parks, events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott would have never taken place, and therefore the elimination of segregation may have never occurred. Consequently, it is clear, that Rosa Parks’s refusal to leave her seat displays the accuracy of Sheenan’s statement.
Martin Luther King Jr (MLK), a well-known historical figure famous for his advocacy of African American rights and his role in leading and organizing the March on Washington. During the March on Washington (an event in which many people congregated in Washington to draw attention to black employment issues) Luther King recited his “I have a dream” speech. In this speech, he expressed: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. In saying this Martin articulated his want for racism and racial discrimination to be eliminated for the next generation. After this event was staged by King, the US president passed a strong bill of civil rights. Without MLK the March on Washington would not have taken place, then meaning the bill of civil rights would remain non-existent. It is evident. That Martin Luther King’s actions prove validity of Sheenan’s assessment.
Responsible for the freedom rides and exposure of injustices towards Indigenous Australians, Charles Perkins’ actions verify Sheenan’s statement. As stated in an interview, Charles Perkins said: “My deeper objective was for Aboriginals to realize second class wasn’t good enough”. This communicates Perkin’s desire for Indigenous peoples to realize that shouldn’t have to be treated in away less than others. Successful in exposing inequalities, the freedom rides were widely publicized. Due to the exposed discriminatory acts, people voted overwhelmingly in favor of removing individual state control over the way Indigenous people were governed and treated. The freedom rides also decreased the social gap and broke many prejudicial barriers and removed the swimming pool ban. Perkins’ organization of the freedom rides accomplished the exposure of injustices towards Aborigines, which then led to the passing of the referendum benefitting indigenous people. It is obvious, that, Perkins’ actions verify Sheenan’s statement.
Proven accurate through the evaluation of Rosa Parks’s refusal to move off a ‘whites only’ bus seat, Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, and Charles Perkins’ freedom rides; Sheenan’s assessment of 20th-century freedom movements, that individuals are more significant than events is undoubtedly correct.
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