Small Gestures That Had a Big Impact on Black History
1 year ago
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Though we all know the major movements that shaped Black History, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, there are plenty of seemingly small moments that had also had a great impact.
As Black History Month comes to a close we want to take a look at some of the greatest small gestures that had a big impact on Black History.
The flirtation (alleged) of Emmitt Till (1955): Till, was just fourteen years old when he became one of the Civil Rights Movements youngest and most high profile martyrs. Though there are varying accounts of exactly what transpired the day before his death multiple witnesses agree that the Chicago native may have whistled. According to some, Till whistled to aid in communicating with a stutter he was born with. Others have claimed that the Chicago native was simply unaccustomed to the strict segregation he encountered upon visiting relatives in Mississippi and was intending to playfully whistle at a young white woman. Regardless, Till was murdered by the woman’s relatives. His brutal death left him unrecognizable, but it also galvanized a nation. Though his murderers were ultimately acquitted by an all white jury, his torture and murder marked a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. Civil Rights was no longer an issue that any black American could afford to ignore, because Emmitt Till represented every black American’s son or brother. In essence, a whistle started a revolution.
[ALSO READ: We Can Never Forget John Lewis]
Rosa Parks takes a seat (1955): Months after the death of Emmitt Till, another seemingly small moment would help change America. On December 1, 1955, Parks was seated in the designated “colored” section of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama when she and three others were asked to vacate their seats for white passengers. Parks refused and was arrested. Her seemingly small act set off one of the most significant moments in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. It sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott that lasted 381 days and introduced the world to an up and coming civil rights leader by the name of Martin Luther King, Jr. Parks also sparked the legal challenge which would be responsible for striking down Montgomery’s segregation law. The rest, as they say, is history.