Rosa Parks Day: This is what racial segregation was like in Germany

Throughout history there have always been courageous women who have fought for their own rights and those of others. Pink parks belongs to this group and for this reason alone should remain unforgettable. To honor her, Rosa Parks Day is celebrated today, February 4, in the United States. But who was the young woman and how did she manage to denounce and criticize the circumstances of the society of the time almost by herself? We got smart.

All about “Pink Parks”:

Rosa Parks: a civil rights leader of her time

Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913 in Alabama to an African American. When she, in December 1943, she worked as a secretary at the NAACP (National Association for the Promotion of Black People; in German: National Organization for the Promotion of Black People) enters, segregation is still a large and current problem in the United States.

This claimed that whites and POCs (People of Color) could not “mix”. There were separate schools for whites and POCs, benches, elevators, and shops. Most shops or public facilities had signs indicating whether that position was reserved for POCs or only whites.

The means of transport have also been affected by this racial segregation, but not completely. The front rows were reserved for whites, while the middle row could use the POC. However, the entire row had to be cleared if a white wanted to sit in that row. And this is where Rosa Parks’ revolution began.

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

For a long time, sorrow for the conditions of public transport simmered in the back of the mind of the black population. In addition to the forced eviction, they were also harassed or simply left at the bus stop.

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was supposed to give up the queue for a white man. The whole POC has risen to comply, only the now 42-year-old Rosa Parks she sat and refused to get up because she didn’t want to stand the rest of the way.

During her arrest, Rosa Park remained very calm, knowing she had done nothing wrong. Photo: IMAGO Images / United Archives International

Bus driver James Blake called the police after this statement and asked them to have Parks arrested. She then she became arrested for disturbing public orderand was sentenced to a fine of ten dollars and four dollars in court costs.

The result of Rosa Park’s courageous protest

While the trial doesn’t sound “exciting”, Rosa Park’s arrest created a spark in the POC community that made people want to stand up and fight for their rights. of the Political Council of Women in response, he organized a one-day boycott on the day of Rosa Park’s trial and called on blacks to carpool, take a cab or walk – public transport was taboo.

The participation rate for this campaign was almost 100 percent, make it clear that the entire POC population was behind this protest. Martin Luther King, who was a relatively unknown Baptist preacher at the time, also attended Montgomery bus boycott shared and expanded further. His Montgomery Improvement Association he called for respectful treatment and equal rights for all passengers and the hiring of black bus drivers.

Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King endorsed Rosa Parks’ actions in several speeches. Photo: IMAGO images / Everett Collection

And all this rebellion of the brave black population bore fruit: The authorities were literally (non-violently) forced to desegregate buses and trainsif they didn’t want to be responsible for other protests by the civil rights movement in America.

What was the situation in Germany at that time?

Thus, with a small but incredibly courageous protest, Rosa Parks managed to mobilize the masses and give them a reason to fight for their rights. But what was the situation in Germany at the time? Was there such a thing as racial segregation here too?

At the time, racial segregation in Germany didn’t seem like it was in the United States. However, this terrible practice was mainly practiced under National Socialism – towards Jews and all non-Germans. That was the beginning Law on the restoration of the professional civil servicewhich claimed that people of “non-Aryan” descent were no longer allowed to work in the public service.

From 1939, Jewish students could no longer attend public schools. That Blood Protection Act, which prohibited marriage and sexual contact between German citizens and Jews, was another measure within racial segregation. Many other laws ensured that all foreigners were increasingly isolated from German society.

Bank with the inscription
Just like with Rosa Parks in the United States, there were some areas in Germany that were only intended for Jews. Photo: IMAGO Images / Photos 12

Although racial segregation in Germany was not only related to skin color, the circumstances under National Socialism were dire and should never be forgotten or ignored.

Keep reading: February is the month of black history. Read here which laws made life difficult for blacks under National Socialism.

Rosa Parks: The involuntary and unforgettable revolutionary

In Germany there were certainly many people who were trying to rebel against racial segregation. In the United States, Rosa Parks has managed to bring the masses to her side with her action and thus achieved that racial segregation was slowly but surely abolished. Through his courage, he made people stand up and fight for their rights.

Rosa Parks Day is therefore important not only in the United States, but also around the world. Because the young woman is still a symbol of freedom and the relative struggle of some groups – and this symbol is and will always be important for all times and all countries.

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