Black History Month, which is celebrated in the United States during the month of February, is intended to recognize the achievements and contributions made by the African-American community in American society.Here we share two profiles of Black women who fought to combat inequality.
Rosa Parks was born on February 14, 1913 in Alabama. From a very young age, she frequently faced discrimination and racial violence. She later joined the fight for the rights of black people by organizing with the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). On December 1st 1955, after a long day of work, she performed an act that sparked an entire movement. That afternoon, she got on the bus home and took a seat. During this time, in the city of Montgomery, Alabama, the seats near the front of the bus were reserved for white people and the seats closer to the back of the bus were where the people of color would sit. The bus quickly filled up and the conductor of the bus told the Black passengers that were sitting closest to the front to give up their seats for the white passengers. While the other Black passengers complied, Rosa did not. The result? Rosa was detained and fined by the police for breaking segregation laws, but she refused to pay and argued her disagreement with this law because it violated her dignity. The day Parks was arrested, Black rights organizations began encouraging people to walk, taxi or carpool to work in protest of the arrest. It became the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted 381 days. It succeeded: The Supreme Court declared segregation on public transportation unconstitutional.
Fun Fact: Rosa Parks obtained her bachelor’s degree at a time when less than 7% of African-Americans earned a degree. She dropped out at 16 to care for her dying grandmother, but at 19 she went back to school. She would obtain a diploma in 1933.
MARSHA P. JOHNSON.
The life and legacy of Marsha P. Johnson was focused on defending the rights of homeless Black and Latinx youth, most of whom were from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer community (LGBTQ+), who were affected by HIV and AIDS during the 1960s and 1970s. At that time, the LGBTQ+ community was subjected to arbitrary arrests by the police, discrimination, and violence. Along with Sylvia Rivera, a Latina transgender activist, Marsha founded the organization Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), which sheltered young people who were left homeless because their families did not accept them because of their sexual preferences and identity. Marsha P. Johnson stated that she wanted "to see gay people liberated and free and have the same rights as other people in America."
Fun Fact: It caught the attention of the American artist Andy Warhol, to the point of including it in a series of paintings entitled "Ladies and Gentlemen". Here you can see the images.
Although Rosa and Marsha have made great strides to advance the rights and inclusion of people of African descent in the United States, there is still much work to be done. For example, currently only 36.1% of black women in the United States obtain their bachelors’ degreesl, compared to 51.4% of white women. Yhis is largely due to social and economic barriers. At the Center for Migrant Rights (CDM), we support the Afro-descendant community in their struggle to achieve a more just and equal society.
If you have questions about your rights that protect you in your workplace, you can call CDM.
From the US: 1 855 234 9699
From MX: 800 590 1773