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It happened on December 1

1955: Rosa Parks, mother of the American Civil Rights Movement, arrested on challenging race laws on a bus in Alabama


On Thursday, December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, got on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and sat with tree other blacks in the fifth row – the first row that blacks were allowed to occupy according to transport segregation laws in Montgomery. The front rows filled in with whites and a few stops later, a white man got on and was left standing. The law stated that blacks and whites could not sit in the same row, so the driver asked the four black passengers seated in the fifth row to move and make way for the one white passenger. Three of the passengers stood up, but Rosa refused to give up her seat.

The police arrived and Rosa was arrested. She was not the first black passenger to disobey a bus driver. Blacks had been arrested and even killed for disobeying drivers in the past, but Rosa was a well-known and respected figure in the black community and her arrest sparked a mass boycott on the city buses that lasted over a year and culminated in a Supreme Court ruling which abolished segregation on public transport throughout the United States.

Rosa Parks’s brave decision marked the beginning of the American Civil Rights Movement. On the evening before she was due in court, a young reverend, Martin Luther King, stood up in the meeting in Montgomery and called for the black community to back Rosa Parks and fight for equal rights on the buses. Almost ten years later, in 1964, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Bill which granted equal rights to all American citizens regardless of the colour of their skin. In the same year, Martin Luther King was awarded the Noble Peace Prize for his role in the Civil Rights Movement. [87]


Complete the sentences with highlighted words from the text:


1. A huge number of people decided to ______ the bus boycott.

2. It took a great deal of courage for black citizens to ______ for what they believed in and fight for their rights.

3. Ten years of civil rights protests _______ in the signing of the Civil Rights Bill in 1964.

4. The Montgomery bus boycott ______ a significant change in the black community’s attitude to segregation.

5. The Supreme Court ruling in 1956 _____ all passengers the same status.


11. Discuss in your group how people can get compensation in the case they are injured at work or become a victim of a doctor’s mistake.

Read the text and answer the questions below it.


A 30-year old rugby player, Adrian Bowe, went to his doctor, complaining of headaches and a loss of vision in one eye. After examining the patient, the doctor decided that he must be suffering from a migraine attack. However, not long after, Mr. Bowe collapsed, a victim of a stroke that has left him permanently disabled and requiring a wheelchair to leave his house. Earlier this year, a judge ruled that the doctor was guilty of ‘clinical negligence’. With a correct diagnosis of Mr. Bowe’s condition, the stroke might have been avoided. Mr. Bowe is now entitled to compensation and this could run into millions of pounds.

The tragic story of Adrian Bowe is not an isolated case. Each year, Britain’s National Health Service considers up to 7,000 claims for compensation where operations have gone wrong or doctors have made errors of judgments. The doctors work now under an increasing pressure. Many doctors even refuse to perform some operations. A spokesman for one London hospital said that the increase in compensation claims cannot b e the result of more medical errors, because the number of claims is not increasing. Courts are awarding higher compensation payments, but there is no evidence that doctors are making more mistakes.


- Have you heard about any doctors’ mistakes in your city or region? Were the doctors punished?

- Do you think doctors should be punished more severely?

- How do you appreciate the case with Adrian Bowe?


12. Read the text below and answer the question: what does the law of your country guarantee to disabled people? What is the attitude to people with limited abilities?


After years of struggle, millions of handicapped Americans were granted rights according to Disabilities Act. The law extends the protection embodied in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to people with physical or mental disabilities, including people with AIDS and recovering alcoholics and drug abusers. It guarantees access to employment, transportation, public accommodation, and communication service. The roots of the handicapped rights movement stem from the period after World War II. Thousands of disabled veterans returned to a country and a society that were inhospitable to the needs of the handicapped.

Only changes of the law cannot assure a change in attitudes. The law that bans biased treatment of the disabled cannot extinguish all prejudices. But the situation will gradually change as the disabled become full participants in a society.


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