Harriet Tubman vs. Rosa Parks

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Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks have many similarities in their lives, such as combating slavery, being African American women, and being selfless in making sacrifices for others; however, they have minor distinctions, such as being born at different times and living under different conditions. As a result, the parallels vastly outnumber the distinctions.
For starters, all protagonists are black American women of identical backgrounds. Harriet Tubman was born a slave “in Dorchester County, Maryland in 1822” to black parents who were still enslaved on a white plantation (Cohen et al., 5). From there she grew up among other black slaves. She endured the sufferings of slavery, which included denial of total freedom and forced labor on the European farms. Similarly, Rosa Parks hailed from Alabama. Both her parents were black and slaves.

In addition both Tubman and Rosa hated slavery and fought against it. At 42 years old, Rosa stirred up anti-slavery revolution, which led to the bus boycott by people of African American origin. She decided to sit on the white section of the bus and refused to leave the sit even after warning by the bus driver. The behavior led to her arrest and consequently “sparked a movement against segregation in Montgomery Alabama which started with the 381-day bus boycott by African-Americans” (Morretta 3). Remarkably for Tubman was her escape from the plantation in fear of being sold as a slave together with others. Although her husband refused to escape with her, Tubman did not change her mind and successfully reached Philadelphia through the Underground Railroad (Cohen et al. 8).

Lastly, the women proved selfless in their fight against slavery and racial segregation. Harriet Tubman in particular, made her way back to the plantation even after successful escape to rescue other slaves as the Cohen et al. illustrate, “Pained by their separation, she returned to Maryland’s Eastern Shore about 13 times to rescue family members and friends. Tracked by slave catchers, Tubman risked her life to selflessly help more than 70 enslaved people find freedom…” (5)

The author confirms that Tubman could not feel free and settled without the people she loved around her. Her act to risk her life to rescue them thus is patriotic and selfless. Rosa likewise, demonstrated selflessness and patriotism in her course. In 1955 after refusing to hand over her seat, she suffered arrest and fine from the court (Morretta 2). However, the bravery she took resulted in removing racial segregation from the public transport system. Both whites and blacks could travel together peacefully in the bus without any discrimination.

Nonetheless, they had such few differences in their lives. For example, they lived at different times. Harriet was born in 1822 while Rosa was later born in 1913 after the death of Tubman. Based on the periods they lived, they had different circumstances to fight slavery and oppose racism. Harriet for example had to free slaves whereas Rosa had to pioneer end to racial discrimination in the public transport.

In conclusion both Harriet and Rosa displayed more similarities as opposed to the differences in the nature of their lives. Some of the similarities included fighting slavery and racism, sacrificing their interest and peace for the sake of others, and the fact that they were strong black American women. The similarities herein thus override the differences.

Works Cited

Cohen, Tony, Kate Clifford Larson, and Andy Kalback. “The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.” Pp.1-25

Morretta, Alison. Rosa Parks and Civil Disobedience. Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC, 2016.pp.1-50

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