WOMEN LEADERS IN CHAOTIC ENVIRONMENTS: EXAMINATIONS OF LEADERSHIP USING COMPLEXITY THEORY, pp.87-98, 2016 (SCI-Expanded)
Rosa Parks inspired freedom fighters everywhere with a courageous act of civil disobedience. She grew up at the beginning of the twentieth century in the segregated South where African Americans couldn't eat, study, worship, or travel alongside whites. In Montgomery, Alabama, where forty-two-years-old Parks lived in 1955, it was against the city's laws for blacks to sit in the first ten rows of the public busses. One December evening, fed up with injustice, she finally refused to tolerate this law any longer. By refusing to surrender her seat to a white passenger, Parks influenced others to protest against racial discrimination. Rosa Parks was a strong character who withstood public scrutiny and represented the Black community well. Rosa had a thriving social network of people and organizations that were aware, organized and could mobilize large groups of people that she was in need. This network was her power. This network is what started the revolution. This network is what allowed her and the other leaders in Montgomery to mobilize other passive civilians. She did not simply participate in a singular event, but made her life's work about contributing to the greater Civil Rights Movement. This quiet, determined, and fearless woman who fought back against intolerance and oppression changed the course of history. An example of leadership in action that comes to mind is that of the civil rights marches of the 1950s and 1960s. Parks' act of defiance became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement and Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. Many years after her death, many believe Rosa Louise Parks was one of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century.