By Parks Rosa
By Parks Rosa
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was born February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her parents were a carpenter and a teacher who encouraged Parks to get a decent education. She was unusually small as a child and was often ill, but she did not let that stand in the way of her academic pursuits. Parks attended rural schools until she was eleven then she transferred to the Industrial School for Girls in Montgomery.
While Parks was attending a laboratory school for Negroes, she was forced to drop out, in order to care for her ailing grandmother, whom she was then living with along with her mother and brother. Parks lived during the time of the Jim Crow laws in the South, when black and white Americans were segregated based on skin color. She was married in 1932 to a man named Raymond Parks who urged her to finish her high school studies and become one of the few African-Americans who achieved a high school diploma; in 1933, she did just that.
Upon graduating from high school Parks joined the Civil Rights Movement to lobby for equal rights for African-American citizens. Over the years, Parks became more involved in the movement and even worked for a white couple who supported and encouraged her in her quest for Civil Rights. It was on December 1, 1955 when Rosa Parks made a move which forever etched her place in history; she refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white man to sit down. Parks’ refusal to move on that fateful day sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and made her an icon in the Civil Rights Movement. Parks suffered many hardships throughout the rest of her life though she never gave up the fight for equality. In 1992, she published her memoir, My Story, chronicling her life and her place in the Civil Rights Movement. She died October 24, 2005 at age 92.
Rosa Parks grew up in the south during a time when segregation was common place. There were separate water fountains for whites and “coloreds”, white and black students were not able to attend school together, and black citizens were hard-pressed to vote, get a higher education, or have a successful career. Black Americans were seen as lesser individuals in the eyes of the southern whites and were often still treated as slaves, despite slavery having been over for quite some time. As black citizens became more frustrated with their place in the country, the civil rights movement emerged.
As Rosa tells her story there is a constant feeling of hope in her story. Even at times when the civil rights movement seemed to be going nowhere, and the progress yet to be obtained seemed endless, Rosa and her peers always hoped for more. At the end of Rosa’s story, she mentions that while the movement has come so far, and much progress has been achieved, there is still so much more that must be done. Despite the overwhelming task ahead, she seems hopeful for the future and the possibility of someday achieving total equality of all people.
During the civil rights movement unity was hugely valuable. Fighting for equality gave black citizens something to reach for, and band together toward. The group of people whom Rosa associated with was extremely supportive of one another and very much on the same page, despite sometimes disagreeing on the way to go about certain things. Rosa mentions that while she does not always agree that nonviolence is the solution to all problems, Dr. King had the right idea in terms of the civil rights movement, because she does not believe it would have been so successful had they resorted to violent means. Camaraderie was hugely influential for those involved in the struggle.
Relationships and unity go hand in hand. The relationships that were forged between those who were fighting for civil rights were bonds which could not be broken. The individuals within the movement were bound together by a common cause which was extremely beneficial to them, and to the progress of the entire African-American population. Rosa and her peers worked together within a close-knit group for the duration of the civil rights movement, right up until their deaths. The ties that bound them could not even be severed with death, as Rosa fought on even after she had lost those close to her.
Perseverance is something that was an integral part of the civil rights movement. Had Rosa, Parks, Dr. King, and the others not been so steadfast and determined throughout their journey the civil rights movement would not have made the progress that it did. Throughout arrests, assassinations, prejudice, hate crimes, setbacks, and harsh words, the folks closely involved with the heart of the movement kept pushing forward to reach their goal. Even after the passing of some of the most influential people in the movement, such as Dr. King, Rosa and the others knew they must persevere.
Death is something that was almost expected to those within the civil rights movement, as they were involved in a cause which sparked a lot of hate throughout the nation, especially the south. Though the untimely and tragic deaths of those involved were sad, they were also fuel for those who were still living. Each tragedy made those who were still living and fighting hungrier for progress; they knew that those who had died had died for a cause and would not want the others to stop moving forward. Each death gave those who were living something more to fight for.
One of the biggest struggles during the fight for civil rights was not changing the views and actions of citizens in the south, but getting politicians on board. Mr. Fred Gray worked hard to get Rosa’s case taken to the Supreme Court, because it was only there that he felt Rosa may have a fair trial. The more attention that civil rights cases were given by the political powers, the more progress was being made. While several small victories were won along the way, it was President Lyndon B. Johnson who pushed forward the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act.
Civil Rights were the exact thing that Rosa and her peers were fighting for. Though slavery had been outlawed many years before, black citizens were still not afforded the same basic human rights as white citizens, and they knew that this treatment was unfair. They worked to outlaw segregation in public facilities, give black children the same schooling opportunities as white children, have job equality, and the right to vote without obstacles standing in the way. Those involved in the movement knew that Civil Rights were something that should not be withheld from them and were willing to fight for what was right.
Struggle and hardship were something that black citizens had to endure for many years, especially during the height of the civil rights movement. The more noise that was made for the cause, the more action white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan took. Rosa and the others who were involved in the cause remained determined to try every door available to them, even when danger lied behind most of them. There was a lot of pain and tragedy which resulted from the civil rights movement, but the struggle was worth it to those involved, if the result was equality for future generations.
Dedication to the cause is what helped equal civil rights come to fruition. Those who were involved in the struggle, such as Rosa and her friends, remained dedicated to the cause even when it seemed hopeless because they knew that if they kept pushing it would inspire others to do the same and eventually progress would be made. Those who were truly dedicated to the cause put their lives on the line every day, knowing that they were fighting for something worth dying for. Many men and women lost their lives in the fight for civil rights, and their dedication earned them a spot in history.
Rosa Parks is the narrator of this, her life story. She grew up in the south during a time when segregation of the races was commonplace, though she always knew that it felt wrong. When she married a man named Raymond Parks, who was heavily involved in the fight for equal rights, she too became involved and passionate about the cause. Rosa became an icon in the civil rights movement when she refused to give up her seat on the segregated bus. After this moment, Rosa started travelling to spread the word on the civil rights movement and served as a motivational and influential speaker.
Raymond Parks, who went by his surname only, was the husband of Rosa Parks. When he met Rosa the civil rights movement had only just started brewing, and he was already involved in the cause. Parks preferred not to travel and stayed mostly out of the public eye, though he continued to support his wife and the other power-players within the movement. Parks was proud of Rosa for the role she played in the progress of equality though he often worried that she was getting herself into dangerous situations. Parks died of cancer in 1977 at the age of seventy-four.
Dr. King was arguably the most well-known and influential figure in the civil rights movement. He was a member of the NAACP, pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, one of the men behind the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and one of the founders of the Montgomery Improvement Association, amongst other things. Dr. King studied the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi and followed his practice of non-violence, which he employed to press forward in the civil rights movement. Dr. King used speeches and marches to gather support, rather than hatred and violence. After surviving several acts of abuse, Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
Leona McCauley was the mother of Rosa and Sylvester. Leona was a school teacher at one of the schools for black students in the south and she felt that education was necessary for her children to have in their lives. Leona tried to give Rosa the best opportunities for a future that she could, though Rosa always wanted more than only what was available to her. Leona was ill for much of Rosa’s life and Rosa cared for her the best she could, while still remaining committed to the movement. Leona moved to Detroit with Rosa, Parks, and Sylvester and that is where she died of cancer in 1979, at the age of ninety-one.
Sylvester McCauley was the younger brother of Rosa and son of Leona. Sylvester felt strongly about equal rights, just as Rosa did, though never more so than when he returned from serving in the military overseas. When Sylvester returned to the states, he was appalled that more progress had not been made, especially as he had been treated as an equal his entire time out of the country. Sylvester was so disappointed with the lack of progress made in the southern states that he moved to Detroit, where racism was less prevalent. Sylvester died of cancer in 1977.
Miss White was the white principal and co-founder of the Montgomery Industrial School, also known as Miss White’s school. Rosa attended Miss White’s school until it was shut down after Rosa had completed eighth grade. Miss White became too old to take care of the school and so did the other teachers; no one else would take over the job because of the controversy of white folks educating black children. Miss White taught the students at her school to remain dignified and ambitious, and know that they have every right to achieve whatever they want in life.
Mr. E.D. Nixon was one of the most well-known and influential black men in Montgomery. He was active in every aspect of achieving equal rights for black citizens and supported others in become active, as well. He was president of the Montgomery branch of the NAACP and he worked closely with Rosa and some other folks to bring racial matters to the attention of politicians. Mr. Nixon had always been working toward small changes in the hopes that they would lead to bigger ones, and he got his wish when he encouraged Rosa to take her case in front of the Supreme Court.
Mrs. Virginia Durr was a white woman who lived in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband Clifford who was an attorney. Mrs. Durr had grown up amongst racism, but she did not agree with the racist view of most white southerners; instead she supported the civil rights movement. Mrs. Durr was quite fond of Rosa and encouraged her to attend a racial desegregation conference at the Highlander School in Tennessee. Mrs. Durr and her husband were hugely supportive of Rosa during and after her arrest and had no qualms about putting their own safety at risk for equality.
Septina Clark was a woman whom Rosa met while she was at the Highlander School. Septina was a teacher there, at the citizenship school, where she taught classes on registering to vote, reading, and writing. She did not have an easy time out in the community, though she continued her work because she believed in the cause. Miss Clark kept in contact with Rosa over the years and remained a supporter of the civil rights movement. She penned a book about her life entitled, Echo in my Soul, of which she sent a copy to Rosa.
Mr. Fred Gray was a black attorney in Montgomery who had been forced to get his education in the northern states due to southern prejudice. Rosa worked for Mr. Gray for some time and he served as one of her attorneys in her segregation case. Mr. Gray was also a member of the MIA along with Mr. Nixon, Dr. King, and Rev. Abernathy. He was heavily involved in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, along with other local efforts to achieve racial equality.
Mr. John Conyers was a black man who was a candidate for Congress whom Rosa met when she was living in Detroit. He asked Rosa to endorse him, and because she liked his viewpoint and the things he had to say, she gave it. After he won the election he asked Rosa to work for him, and she did for twenty-three years, up until her retirement in 1988.
Mrs. Coretta Scott King was the wife of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Mrs. King was a singer whom Rosa was familiar with before she officially met her, and Rosa had no idea that she was married to a minister. Mrs. King was a supporter of her husband and the civil rights movement, though she and the other women were not often allowed to march with their husbands. Despite sitting on the sidelines, she made her mark on the movement, and her passion for civil rights was known to all.
Malcolm X was a member of the Black Muslims. He had been a career criminal and while in prison he learned of the teachings of the Muslims and adopted their principles. The Black Muslims preached a hatred of white people and encouraged the black community to fight for independence, success, and family. Rosa only met Malcolm X once, one week before he was killed, and while she did not agree with hatred in any form she did believe in the message he sent to the black community. Malcolm X was known for being a supremely intelligent man and just before he was killed he put the violent ways of the Black Muslims behind him.
President Johnson was instrumental in the progression of the civil rights movement. It was always the goal to get political minds involved in the fight, and President Johnson was the most influential political proponent. President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which offered protection to black citizens from racial prejudice. Shortly after, he passed the Voting Rights Act as well; this law would make it easier for black citizens to become registered to vote by allowing them to register with federal officials rather than local governments.
Reverend Abernathy was the minister of the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He and some other ministers, including Dr. King formed the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) because participation in the NAACP was weak in the state of Alabama. Reverend Abernathy was instrumental in getting Dr. King involved in civil rights work, as he believed that a man who was new to town was the perfect spokesperson; Dr. King was too new to have friends or enemies and that made him the perfect man for the job.
Rosa was born in a time when there were laws in the South which segregated white Americans from black African-Americans. From a young age, she knew that the laws were wrong, and she must do something someday to help. She grew up in Pine Level, Alabama which was in Montgomery County. Her parents, Leona and James, were a teacher and carpenter, respectively. They married in April of 1912 and Rosa was born only ten months later.
Rosa’s mother was not ready to be a mother, though she was twenty-five years old when Rosa was born; though Rosa believes that her trepidation came from her being alone all the time as Rosa’s father travelled often. Leona wanted James to take a job as the Tuskegee Institute, guaranteeing the family a place to live and the children a place to get an education, but he decided to travel and do contracting work instead. Leona, now pregnant with her second child, took Rosa and moved in with her parents because James was always away. Rosa only saw her father a couple of times from that point until after she was married, and her parents’ marriage was not able to last.
Rosa learned a lot about her family history while living with her grandparents. Her maternal great-grandparents had been slaves, and when slavery was abolished they continued to work for the same white family they had been enslaved to, with the understanding that they were free and could leave whenever they pleased. Her grandfather, Sylvester, had been born to a slaveowner and his slave housekeeper, who had died when Sylvester was terribly young. After his father’s death Sylvester was treated particularly badly which caused him to be extremely bitter toward the white man. He could pass for white himself, as he was majorly light-skinned, and would often introduce himself by his last name and shake the hands of white men just because he could get away with it. Rosa’s grandfather did not want his children to ever work for whites, though Leona’s sister Fannie did just that rather than attend secondary school.
Leona, however, attended school and received her certificate in teaching. After Rosa’s brother, also named Sylvester, was born Leona went back to teaching after taking a break. She worked in a town called Spring Hill, as the black school in Pine Level already had a teacher; she had to stay in Spring Hill during the week because the commute was too long to take daily. Rosa enjoyed the time she and Sylvester spent with their grandparents and she became majorly protective of her brother, even stopping her grandmother from whipping him one day.
When Rosa was ten-years-old, she had a run in with a white boy named Franklin. Franklin balled up his fist, like he was going to punch Rosa, but he retreated when she picked up a brick and dared him to do it. Rosa’s grandparents worried about her because they believed her inability to accept the way things were was going to get her lynched by the time she turned twenty. Rosa and Sylvester started school a year apart from one other; Rosa when she was about six and Sylvester when he was about five.
They attended the only black school in Pine Level, which was on the grounds of the Zion church. The schoolhouse taught children up to grade six, all in one large room where the students were arranged in rows according to age. Rosa was often teased for being smaller than the other students and sickly, but she enjoyed school regardless; she especially enjoyed her teachers Miss Hill and Miss Beulah.
Rosa also enjoyed reading, which she learned before she entered school, and playing games out in the yard. At a young age, Rosa began to see the segregation between blacks and whites; blacks did not have school buses, they attended school less time because they had to help in the fields, and the Ku Klux Klan ran amuck. Rosa remembers her grandfather staying up at night with his shotgun nearby during a particularly critical time with the Klan, vowing to shoot the first one who walked through his door.
Rosa’s family was one of the few black families who owned their own land; as they had inherited it from generous white folks in the past. They spent the days working on their own land, and when that was finished they would head over to Mr. Moses Hudson’s field to work. Rosa was only six or seven when she began working the fields; she began picking cotton and when she became older she would chop cotton.
Rosa recalls that the only people who wore shoes in the fields were the overseer, a man called Mr. Freeman, and his horse. It was said that the only black people who stood up to white folk were those who had white blood in them, but Rosa remembers a man named Mr. Sherman Gray who had not a drop of white blood in him; Mr. Gray would walk around with his cane, refusing to work, and constantly challenging Mr. Freeman.
Despite the unfair treatment, Rosa did not hate all white people, nor was she mistreated by all of them. She remembers that a decidedly old white woman was uncommonly kind to her and would often take her fishing.
Rosa visited Montgomery for the first time when she was eight-years-old. Leona attended summer school at Alabama State Normal, the black teachers’ college, in order to keep her licensure current. Rosa and Leona would stay with family members in Montgomery because Leona did not make enough money to stay in a hotel.
First they stayed with Cousin Ida Nobles, first cousin of Rosa’s grandmother. When Cousin Ida expressed a desire to adopt Rosa as her own child and bring her up in Montgomery Leona refused and decided it would be best for her and Rosa to stay with her cousin Lelar Percival and his wife Saphonia. They had three children of their own, including a newborn and Rosa enjoyed staying with them for the summer.
Rosa attended classes at Alabama State Normal while she was there and she enjoyed it; especially because with the warmer weather she was not ill as often. Upon returning to Pine Level, Rosa learned that the school at Mount Zion had been shut down, and its students would have to attend school in Spring Hill, where Leona taught. Rosa enjoyed having her mother as a teacher, as she was extraordinarily creative in her methods.
When Rosa aged out of Spring Hill School, she was sent to the Montgomery Industrial School, which was also known as Miss White’s school. Miss White and her fellow teachers were all white women from the North who were ostracized in Montgomery because they taught black children.
Rosa had her tonsils removed before she started school at Miss White’s, and it took her an awful long time to recover, though once she did she began to grow considerably and was rarely ill anymore. Leona paid tuition for Rosa to attend Miss White’s but soon she was unable to afford it so Rosa had to attend on scholarship, doing odd jobs around the school to earn her keep.
While attending Miss White’s Rosa lived with Aunt Fannie and often had to travel through white neighborhoods where she was often confronted with the realities of segregation. She and her brother had several run-ins with white children, though thankfully were never seriously injured; she also became aware of segregation of public facilities such as water fountains and street cars.
Rosa learned a lot about dignity and self-respect while at Miss White’s school and enjoyed her time there, though it closed after Rosa completed eighth grade because Miss White was getting too old to run it, as were her fellow teachers and no one else wanted the job. After Miss White’s, Rosa attended a newly built public junior high for black students and then the laboratory school at Alabama Normal School; a prep school for teachers.
Rosa was forced to leave school at age sixteen to care for her ailing grandmother, who passed away only a couple of months later. She attended again only for a short time before she had to leave to care for her mother, who also fell ill. Though Rosa’s mother got better Rosa did not return to school until after she was married, instead taking on domestic jobs to make ends meet.
Rosa was introduced to Raymond Parks, whom everyone simply called “Parks”, by a mutual friend who thought they may be beneficial for one another. Parks knew that he wanted to get to know Rosa right away, but she resisted his advances.
Finally, after he tracked her down at her own home, she agreed to spend some time with him and found out that he was a fascinating man. He had received remarkably little formal schooling and had been mostly homeschooled but was extraordinarily intelligent and articulate. He was a member of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and was about ten years older than Rosa. She admired his strength in the fight for Civil Rights, his commitment to the cause, and his refusal to be afraid of the white man.
One day shortly after they met Parks told Rosa they should get married, and she agreed with him; he asked her mother’s permission and five months later, in December 1932, they were man and wife. Parks was hugely supportive of Rosa’s desire to finish school and in 1933 she received her high school diploma, an honor that not many black people achieved at that time. Despite having a diploma, Rosa was not able to get a good job though she made ends meet by working at Maxwell Field, a naval base which President Roosevelt insisted be racially integrated.
Parks was heavily involved in the case of the Scottsboro Boys; nine men who were accused of raping two women despite the fact that they did not even know one another before being arrested. Parks and his compatriots were sure of the innocence of the Scottsboro Boys and did everything in their power to help the boys legally, even after they were all but one sentenced to death.
Parks’ involvement in this group put him in grave danger, and he would not allow Rosa to accompany him to any of the meetings because he feared that she would be hurt or killed. Rosa was often fearful that Parks would not make it home after one of the meetings though she knew that what he was doing was for an important cause.
One day when Rosa was heading to the train station with some friends she was stopped by a policeman who accosted her and pushed her into a railing with his baton before letting her go; she never told Parks of this incident but it made her fearful of what the white man could be capable of.
When Parks was done fighting for the Scottsboro Boys, all of whom managed to escape execution, he became involved in Voter’s Rights, which is a cause he had been passionate about for a long time. Though it was legal for black people to vote, it was difficult for them to become registered so there were exceedingly few registered African-American voters.
Parks tried a couple of times to register and even had a few white friends who were willing to help him out, but he was determined to do it by himself and thus did not become a registered voter until years later when he and Rosa were living in Detroit, Michigan.
Mr. E.D. Nixon was a man who was also passionate about Civil Rights and he tried to help as many black citizens become voters as possible; he encouraged them to head to the registration office themselves rather than wait for a white person to vouch for them.
Rosa decided she wanted to register though she knew it would be difficult. Purposefully, the registration hours were usually at a time when black people would be working and thus would not be able to make it.
Also, the doors would close at a certain time promptly, even if there were still more people in line. Once inside, the applicant would have to take a test consisting of questions on the Constitution.
Rosa failed her first test, though she was sure that she had the answers right; when she went in for her second test she made copies of her answers to show the registration board if she was denied again, though this time she passed and became a registered voter.
In 1945, the second time Rosa took her registration test, she was kicked off a bus for the first time. It was in Montgomery, where there were assigned seats at the front of the bus for whites and understood black seating in the back of the bus though the bus driver could move the segregation line back as he saw fit.
Some drivers were especially nasty and would make the black people pay up front and then get off the bus and walk around to the back to get on, rather than allowing them to walk up the aisle, and often taking off before the person got back onto the bus. On this day, the back of the bus was chocked full, and some people were even hanging off the steps at the back, but the front of the bus was nearly empty.
Rosa walked down the aisle to squeeze into a place at the back of the bus, and the driver marched back to her, grabbed her coat sleeve, and told her to get off the bus and go around the back. Rosa refused but did agree to get off the man’s bus.
On her way to the front, she dropped her purse and sat herself down on one of the seats in the front to pick it up. The man told her to get off his bus, and she did as she already had a transfer ticket stamped for her connecting bus; though she vowed to never get on that man’s bus again.
When Rosa was kicked off that bus, she was already a member of the NAACP with Parks. The NAACP had been found on February 12, 1909; Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Rosa did not hear of any women being involved in the NAACP and Parks never encouraged her to join, despite his involvement, because he felt it would put her at risk.
One day Rosa learned that a woman she had attended school with, Johnnie Carr, was working with the Montgomery Branch of the NAACP. Rosa decided to attend a meeting with the hopes of running into Johnnie, and she left the meeting as their new Secretary. Back in the 1930s and 1940s, there were few women involved in the movement for civil rights, but by the time the 1950s and 1960s rolled around, there were many women involved.
Mr. E.D. Nixon was the president of the NAACP Montgomery Branch at that time, and he appreciated the work that Rosa put in as his secretary. It was her duty to keep minutes at the meetings, to send out press releases and letters, to answer phones, and to keep record of incidences of violence against blacks.
Many of the cases that Rosa and the other members of the NAACP became involved in were cases concerning sexual relations between black and white folks. In one case, a black woman was lured into a car at gunpoint and raped by six men; despite one of the men admitting to the crime and naming his accomplices the men were found innocent.
In another case, a white woman was having a relationship with a teenage black boy though when someone found out she declared rape and the young man was sentenced to death; despite the NAACP’s efforts to save the boy, he was executed at age twenty-one. There was another case where a windowed white woman had a consensual relationship with a black man and when they were found out she refused to declare rape, despite being urged by the police.
The woman was arrested, and she gave the man money to run; years later she took her own life. The NAACP was involved in many cases like this but was rarely able to get justice for the African-American citizens who had been wronged; still Rosa knew her work was paramount and kept her determination to make a change.
In the late 1940s, after the end of the war, there was a surge of violence against blacks; this was presumably because the returning soldiers believed they should be treated as equals. Rosa’s brother Sylvester was amongst these returning soldiers, and he was not used to being in a segregated environment where he was looked down upon, after having been overseas where conditions were just as he had left them if not worse.
Rosa recalls several instances where black men were outright abused by white men and the white men were acquitted immediately when the case went to trial. In the 1950s Mr. Nixon stepped down as head of the Montgomery NAACP though Rosa continued to volunteer as his secretary in whatever area he may need one. He introduced her to Mrs. Virginia Durr; a white woman who, along with her husband, was a proponent for equal civil rights. Mrs. Durr took an immediate liking to Rosa, and the two became friends.
Mrs. Durr and her husband had made the conscious decision to live in Alabama, knowing that they would not be accepted by the other white folks because of their support of the African-American community.
The year that Rosa met Mrs. Durr was 1954, which was the same year that the US Supreme Court deemed segregation in schools to be illegal with the Brown v Board of Education case; a move which had been some thirty years in the making. After this court decision, the civil rights movement started buzzing about what would happen next and making plans for the future.
Mrs. Durr told Rosa about a workshop at Highlander School in Monteagle, Tennessee; the purpose of the workshop was to brainstorm ideas on how best to implement the Supreme Court decision. Mrs. Durr and Mr. Nixon both thought that Rosa should go and helped to pay her way; Parks did not go because he did not like to travel but had no problem with Rosa going.
At the workshop, Rosa finally experienced an integrated environment with no stress which was truly equal. She made a whopping friend named Septina Poinsette Clark, whom she kept in contact with for many years and who was a fascinating woman. Rosa loved her time there and did not want to leave, though she knew that of course she must.
Black people in the South were more angered by the bus segregation laws than any other segregation laws. Mr. Nixon often visited the bus company to campaign for changes which would help to make bus routes and treatment on the buses fairer for the black passengers, though his requests were always turned down for some odd reason or another.
Rosa, Mr. Nixon and some others tried to form a case against the segregation laws whenever they heard of someone refusing to give up their seat on the bus, but the cases always fell through. There was one incident when a young woman named Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat and was arrested; her case seemed a perfect test case until Mr. Nixon found out she was pregnant out of wedlock and he knew that the white folk would have a field day with that information. On the day of December 1, 1955, when Rosa refused to give up her seat on the bus, the idea that she could be just the case Mr. Nixon was looking for did not even cross her mind.
Rosa got on the bus after work and sat in one of the middle seats; the first row of seats for black passengers. It was not until Rosa sat down that she realized the driver of the bus was the same man who had kicked her off of a bus twelve years earlier. As the bus filled up with white passengers, one man was left standing, and the driver told the people in Rosa’s row to get up so the man could sit down. At first they all refused though after they were threatened with arrest the three people other than Rosa all got up and moved.
The driver told Rosa to get up, and she said no; he told her that he would have her arrested, and she said, “You may do that”. The police who came to the scene did not manhandle Rosa in any way and were rather cordial with her when asking her why she did not give up her seat; they even admitted that they did not know why blacks were treated so poorly but “the law is the law”. At the police station, Rosa was not allowed a drink or a phone call, which she was sure was against her rights.
It was not until Rosa was taken to the jail that she finally got a chance to make a call. She called Parks who made arrangements for Mr. Durr to represent her and for her bail to be paid. When Rosa was released from jail everyone was seriously worried about her, and she was a bit shaken up by the events of the day. Mr. Nixon asked Rosa if she would be willing to be the test case and after speaking to her mother and Parks about it, Rosa agreed.
Rosa was the ideal candidate for a test trial because there was nothing disagreeable that anyone could say about her, and Mr. Nixon himself could vouch for her as she had worked for him for twelve years. Fred Gray, a black attorney, got together with the head of the Women’s Political Council, Jo Ann Robinson and organized a bus boycott.
There were fliers made up and distributed throughout Montgomery announcing the boycott for Monday December 5, 1955; the day of Rosa’s trial. Rosa went about her business like nothing had happened, going to work and meeting Fred Gray for lunch just as she always did. The evening of December 2, 1955 Rosa attended a meeting at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where the boycott was discussed further, as well as plans.
When the morning of Monday, December 5, 1955 rolled around, the skies were an ominous gray and Rosa and the others worried that the weather would keep blacks from boycotting the buses. However, on that day nearly all of the blacks refused to ride the buses and the black cab companies gave rides for ten cents, the same price as the bus, to discourage people from riding.
That day Rosa went to her trial, knowing that she would lose. Her attorneys did not want her to win because they wanted the chance to appeal to the higher courts, as the higher courts were capable of changing the segregation laws. Later that evening Rosa attended a meeting at the Holt Street Baptist Church where the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) was announced; it had been formed earlier that day.
Elected president of the MIA was the young pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was the perfect choice, according to Mr. Nixon, because he had not been in town long enough to make any friends or enemies. The subject of the meeting that evening was to decide whether the boycott should continue and to think about plans for the movement.
Dr. King gave the first of many articulate speeches and Reverend Abernathy read to the attendees a list of demands the MIA would present to the bus company. The list asked that blacks be treated fairly while on the bus, that seating become first come first serve with the blacks in the back and whites in the front and that black drivers be hired for the black bus routes. Everyone agreed upon these requests.
Dr. King, Rev. Abernathy, and Mr. Nixon met with the bus company to go over the demands, but they were refused; and again by city commissioners. The bus company would not even admit that the drivers were rude to black passengers. Because the demands were turned down, the boycott continued.
Police officers tried unsuccessfully to scare the black folks who waited on the corners for cabs and many white employers fired their black employees. Rosa and Parks lost their jobs as well though they were not fired; Parks resigned when his bosses banned any speak of Rosa on the premises, and Rosa was let go when her shop was forced to shut down.
Rosa was then able to put her efforts into helping the MIA to arrange a sophisticated transportation system for the black citizens, made up of cars and station wagons the churches had purchased. She also was able to hand out donated clothing and shoes to black folks, who could no longer afford such necessities after losing their employment. Violence against blacks was at an all-time high during this period, with homes being bombed and threats being made left and right.
In February of 1956 Fred Gray filed suit in US District Court declaring bus segregation unconstitutional; this was their way of answering Rosa’s initial case of which the appeal had been thrown out. Gray wanted the case to go to the US Supreme Court which could take quite some time. In the meantime, a group of white attorneys found a law that forbid boycotts and several people were arrested under this law, Rosa included. When the trials began for those who were arrested Dr. King was first.
He was found guilty though his conviction was later successfully appealed; he was the only one who was tried. The press gave the boycott a lot of attention, and because of it, Rosa was asked to travel around and to speak at gatherings about her experiences and the MIA, including at the Highlander Folk School where she had visited years before.
The case was successfully sent to the US Supreme Court and finally on November 13, 1956 the ruling was handed down declaring bus segregation illegal. Still the buses were boycotted until December 20 when the written order came through. Press came to take photos of Rosa, Dr. King and the others sitting on the first integrated buses and the movement ran throughout the country; the civil rights movement was officially active.
Shortly after the bus boycott Rosa and her family moved from Alabama to Detroit to escape the harassment and threatening phone calls; Sylvester had found an apartment for Rosa, Parks, and their mother to live in. Rosa continued to travel and do speaking engagements. While in Boston Rosa was offered a position at the Holly Tree Inn, which housed residents and guests of the Hampton Institute; she had hoped there would be a place there for her husband and mother but there was not.
Parks did well regardless, becoming a licensed barber and even teaching at the barber college. It was not long before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was stabbed, which was a traumatic experience for Rosa; she was immensely relieved when his operation proved successful. Shortly after, Rosa decided to move back to Detroit when her efforts to move Parks, and her mother to Boston proved fruitless.
Back in Detroit, Rosa began work as a seamstress and became involved with Dr. King’s newly formed Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which fought against segregation in the south. The women were not so involved in the marches and demonstrations of the SCLC but Rosa, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Josephine Baker, and Lena Horne tried to help in any way they could.
The civil-rights movement was gaining headway, though not amongst the white southerners but certainly amongst the politicians in Washington D.C.; President Johnson made the biggest political move thus far by pushing into effect the Civil Rights Movement of 1964 which gave protection to black citizens. Following the fifty-mile march from Selma to Montgomery, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act which allowed all black citizens to register to vote without jumping through hoops as they had been made to before.
Dr. King truly believed that nonviolent protest, as he had learned from studying Mohandas Gandhi, helped to move the civil rights movement along. Rosa had not always practiced non-violence and still did not always believe in it; though she strongly believed that the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s would not have been so successful had they resorted to violent means.
Rosa began working for a man named John Conyers, whom she supported in his candidacy for congress, in 1964. That same year, Malcolm X was shot and killed. Malcolm X was a member of the Black Muslims, a group which preached the hatred of white folks and encouraged blacks to own their own businesses and build strong family ties.
While Rosa did not agree with expressing hatred for any individuals, she did admire Malcolm X as a person for he was an incredibly intelligent man who worked hard for the progression of the African-American race. Rosa did not know Malcolm X and had only met him once, just one week before his death, yet she appreciated his stance in the civil rights movement.
Three years after Malcolm X was killed, so was Dr. King. He had been shot while participating in a march with black garbage collectors, and his assassination was announced on the radio while Rosa and her mother were listening. Rosa was not as shocked by this attack on Dr. King because by this time she had accepted that some people in the world wished him physical harm. Two months later Senator Robert Kennedy, a supporter of Dr. King, was also assassinated, and Rosa could not help but feel as though all of the good guys were being taken away.
The 1970s were a tough time for Rosa as the people she held nearest and dearest were leaving her. Parks, Sylvester, and Rosa’s mother all became ill with cancer and Rosa had to reduce her work to part-time in order to visit three separate hospitals visiting them all. Parks was the first to die in 1977 at the age of seventy-four, followed only three months later by Sylvester.
After that Rosa was forced to put her mother into a nursing home facility because she was unable to care for her, though she visited at meal times every single day. Rosa’s mother passed in 1979 at the age of ninety-one. Despite Rosa having health issues of her own, she continued her role as an icon for the African-American community and founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development in 1987.
The purpose of the program is to assist the youth in continuing education and realizing their dreams. Rosa believes that people have blown her role in the civil rights movement out of proportion, but she realizes that many people look up to her and so she gratefully accepts awards and accolades that she is given, and gladly speaks of her involvement whenever she is asked. She feels the nation still has a ways to go, as white supremacy groups exist on college campuses and the Supreme Court does not take racial prejudice matters as seriously as they should, though she has hopes for the future.
It is a few weeks that Travis and Old Yeller are laid up, and both of them are in incredible pain and suffering from fevers. Mama mixes up several antidotes for Travis and tries to feed him and Old Yeller whenever they will eat. Mama ends up taking over all of the chores with Travis laid-up and Little Arliss is not much help to her because he is so young and gets bored easily. Bud Searcy comes by one day with Lisbeth and a puppy. Lisbeth asks Travis how he is feeling and, wanting to sound tough, Travis tells her that he is doing alright. Lisbeth tells Travis she has a surprise for him, and she presents him with a speckled puppy. Travis seems to hurt Lisbeth’s feelings when he tells her that the puppy will be perfect for Little Arliss, because she leaves him alone afterward. Travis feels bad he just believes he already has a dog and once Old Yeller is better they will not want to wait around for a puppy to keep up with them; the puppy would be better for Little Arliss because it would entertain him. Lisbeth gives the puppy to Little Arliss, and Travis sees her look in at him as she and Bud Searcy are leaving. Bud Searcy then tells Mama that since her husband is gone and Travis cannot help with chores he will leave Lisbeth to help out. Mama wonders if the little girl will be of much help, but Bud Searcy assures her that Lisbeth is very tough and willing to help out. As he leaves he tells Lisbeth to behave herself.
Travis and Mama both believe that Lisbeth is too little to help out much around the house, but she proves the two of them wrong. Lisbeth works hard at her chores without being asked and is always looking for more ways to help out. Lisbeth and Little Arliss both help Mama to gather corn and though gathering corn is not usually a job that Travis likes to do he finds that he wishes he could be outside helping them. Travis feels as though his pride is bruised when this little girl can come in and do all of his chores for him, but he takes some solace in knowing that she cannot mark the hogs or kill animals for meat. One day, Spot does not show up for her milking and when she returns in the morning Travis calls to Mama that she is back; Mama goes out to see Spot, but quickly yells and runs back into the house. Spot had turned on Mama and tried to attack her so Mama wonders if she ate a poisonous pea-vine and went crazy, but Travis thinks that she probably has hydrophobia. Everyone watches Spot carefully over the next few days while she walks around in circles and ignores her calf. The bull called Roany wanders into the yard also, acting just as strangely as Spot though seemingly weaker. Old Yeller knows the family is danger when he sees the bull, and he growls because the bull is heading toward Little Arliss and Lisbeth. Travis calls for Mama to get his gun, but Mama runs after the children instead. The bull tries to run for Mama but falls over, giving Travis the opportunity to shoot him.
Travis and Mama know that they must bring the dead roan bull somewhere to burn the body because being so close to the house it may contaminate the drinking water. However, they find that Jumper cannot drag the carcass, so they must gather wood to burn the body where it lies. The fire is huge but still takes two and a half days to completely burn the body; when wolves smell the meat they are drawn to the area but stay away from the fire and from Old Yeller, who is acting as a guard. Travis remembers that Bud Searcy’s brother contracted hydrophobia, and he wishes that Papa would return home soon. Mama tells Travis that he must kill Spot as well, and they will have to burn the heifer’s body to be sure that the other cows are not infected. Travis follows Spot until she is in a place where it will be safe to burn her body without the danger of lighting the woods on fire, and he kills her. Travis’ leg is in pain when he returns to Mama tells him to rest, and she and Lisbeth go out to gather wood and burn Spot’s carcass. Travis tells the reader that had he known what was going to happen next he would have tried harder to keep them at home that day. Travis falls asleep and when he wakes he see Little Arliss playing with the puppy though Mama and Lisbeth have still not returned; he realizes that it probably took a long time to gather wood. Travis knows that Papa should be coming home soon, and he wonders if Papa will be bringing him a horse. He mostly wants Papa to come home because of the hydrophobic plague.
As darkness begins to set in, Travis gets worried about Mama and Lisbeth, but he realizes that the task at hand may have taken a while and he cannot think of anything that would be a danger to them. Travis brings Little Arliss and the puppy inside, and they eat a couple bowls of cornmeal and milk together. When Travis is putting Little Arliss to bed, he hears dogs fighting outside and hears Mama yell for him to make a light and come outside with his gun. Travis makes a light out of bear grass and heads outside with his gun where he is horrified to see Old Yeller fighting with a large wolf which Mama says is mad. Travis does not want to fire at the wolf right away because he fears hitting Old Yeller, but when the wolf gets on top of the dog Travis gets his chance, and he shoots. The wolf is dead, and Old Yeller licks Travis’ hand; the two of them collapse onto the ground together, and Mama sits with them. Mama tells Travis that they stopped for water at Birdsong Creek and the wolf almost got her, but she hit it in the head with a stick and then Old Yeller kept it distracted while Mama and Lisbeth got away on Jumper. Mama tells Travis that they got lucky, but Old Yeller is not so lucky; Travis realizes that Mama is telling him that Old Yeller is probably going to be mad now, and he needs to be killed. Mama offers to do the job for Travis, but once he realizes that she is right, he reluctantly and sadly calls Old Yeller to him and then shoots him in the head.
Travis is so sad about Old Yeller that he cannot eat, sleep, or cry and feels empty inside. Travis spends a lot of time thinking about how Old Yeller helped his family and Mama tries to talk with Travis about it to make him feel better, but it does not work. Lisbeth reminds Travis that the puppy is part of Old Yeller, but Travis only thinks that the puppy has not helped to keep his family alive like Old Yeller did; he feels bad for shooting his dog when he did not even do anything to deserve it. Soon the rain comes, and the hydrophobic plague is washed away from the land. Papa comes home in the morning, thinner than he was when he left but happy to have money and a horse for Travis. Travis appreciates the horse, but Papa can tell something is wrong with him. Papa gets the story from Mama, and after dinner, he walks down to the creek with Travis and tells him that he knows about Old Yeller. He tells Travis that he did exactly the right thing, just as a grown man would do, and he is proud of him. Papa tells Travis to think about the good parts of each situation because if he dwells on the bad then all of life will be bad. Travis understands what his father is saying, but he is still sad. A week later, Travis hears Mama yelling at the puppy for stealing cornbread, Little Arliss crying because Mama hit the puppy, and Papa laughing at the whole situation; Travis feels a little better. When Travis returns from riding his horse he sees Little Arliss playing naked in the water with the puppy and Travis starts laughing uncontrollably. He decides that he will bring Little Arliss and the puppy squirrel hunting because if the puppy is going to act like Old Yeller he may as well be of use.
Vin is in her room, piles of paper all around her on the floor. She continues to sort through the pages, rearranging them as she rereads different parts. She even starts to take notes of some quotes that she wants to remember. OreSeur watches her, commenting that she should use the desk instead of the floor. Elend walks in, and he is amazed that she is researching. He is also impressed with her penmanship, based on the pretty letters in her notes. Elend takes Vin with him to meet the messenger that has come from his father’s army. Vin is shocked to find that this messenger is also the man that was following her, the watcher. The messenger’s name is Zane, and he acts like an ambassador. Later, Vin and OreSeur wait outside for Zane. The two Mistborn spar, jumping from one rooftop to another. Zane says that Vin is different from the rest. She shouldn’t allow herself to be used by them. Vin doesn’t know what he means. When Zane leaves, Vin is sure she wants to spar with him more.
Zane comes back to his camp, or his father’s camp. He has a guard summon is father to the strategy tent. While waiting, he gives one of the soldiers strategic positions of the forces in Luthadel. Straff comes in and Zane tells him about the day’s activities, including what was said between Zane and Elend. They talk over a cup of tea. Straff, being a tineye, burns tin and smells poison in the tea he’s drinking. He knows Zane is always trying to poison him. He defiantly drinks the tea anyway and dismisses Zane. After, Straff summons one of his mistresses, a woman named Amaranta, who prepares a concoction of medicines in a special tea for Straff. He drinks the new tea, hoping he’ll live again this time.
Sazed has traveled six weeks worth of distance in six days, using his metalminds from time to time. Whenever a metalmind runs out, he leaves it on the ground, trying to lessen the amount of weight he has to carry. He notices several pillars of smoke ahead, sure sign that there is an army or camp of some kind. He is surprised to see that the army camp is made up of koloss, a dark blue kind of monster barbarian, once controlled by the Lord Ruler. Sazed is found by a koloss patrol. They force him to come down from the tree he was hiding in and follow them into the camp. Sazed is surprised once again to see that the man controlling these koloss is Jastes Lekal, a one-time friend of Elend Venture. Jastes says that he plans to conquer Luthadel as his own. He ends up letting Sazed go, under the condition that Sazed tell Elend about what he has seen. Sazed leaves, feeling even more urgency about getting to Luthadel.
Elends meets with his advisors–Ham, Breeze, Dockson, and Vin. Tindwyl is there, too. They try to talk Elend out of this plan he has to go into his father’s camp and trick him into fighting Cett. They don’t think Elend can con someone like that, but Elend is insistent that he can manipulate his father any time he wants. Plus, Elend argues, he’ll have Vin with him, in case Straff tries to take his own son hostage. Vin, listening in to the conversation, discovers through bronze that Breeze is soothing Elend to make him more confident. After the meeting, Tindwyl chastises Elend for not acting more like a king. Kings cannot doubt themselves. They must always feel that they are the right man for the job and convince others of the same through sheer confidence. The discussion is interrupted when Elend gets word that Cett’s daughter has arrived in Luthadel, looking for Breeze.
Cetts daughter, Allrianne, has left her father’s camp and come to Luthadel to see Breeze, whom she affectionately calls Breezy. Breeze is completely embarrassed by this, but the rest of the group gets a good laugh at his expense. Allrianne says she hated staying in her father’s camp; she needs comforts only a city can bring, like fresh water and a bed. After Allrianne leaves to freshen up, the group decides it may be beneficial to keep her. It may prevent her father from attacking too soon.
Vin, hides, suspended in the mists, just above Keep Venture. She spies on Ham as he walks across a courtyard. As she follows him, as a predetermined time, OreSeur jumps from behind some boxes and howls, scaring Ham. Ham reacts by flaring pewter. This confirms to Vin that he is not the kandra imposter. Vin admits to Ham that she is out of atium, meaning she’ll die the next time she fights a Mistborn with atium. She wonders is there is a secret to killing someone with atium. Ham doesn’t think so, although there have been some theories about how to do so. It may be possible, for example, to surprise them somehow. After that, Vin has a heart-to-heart with OreSeur. They talk about the way kandra are often treated, beaten by their own masters. They spot someone approaching the keep’s walls. It turns out to be Sazed, who has returned with, as he puts it, “problems and troubles.
Sazed is telling the group in the kitchens late at night, what he saw in the Koloss camp. They are not happy to know that a third army is on its way to Luthadel. Sazed does not know how Lekal is controlling the creatures, but the group does know that 20,000 koloss could beat an army of at least four times that many humans, meaning there is nothing stopping them from reaching and taking Luthadel. Finally, Sazed also share his fear regarding the mist killing people. He thinks something was released when the Lord Ruler was killed, although he never personally saw the mist kill anyone. Cett’s daughter comes walking in, half disheveled, asking what’s going on. They dismiss her and the group breaks apart, everyone either going to bed or to some corner to thin. Vin takes OreSeur outside to patrol. Back in his room, Sazed meets Tindwyl, an old friend of his. She criticizes him for returning and having strange theories about the mist.
Vin is outside, thinking about the beating she hears to the north, just like the writer of the log book, the supposed Hero of Ages. Zane finds her, and again he tries to convince her to leave Elend and Luthadel, claiming that she is being used by them and that she can do much better on her own, free to do as she pleases. Vin insists that she is very happy doing what she is doing and that no one is forcing her to do anything.
Vin is woken by a quiet bark of warning from OreSeur. She reacts by jumping out of bed, reaching for a dagger, and downing a vile of metals. She does all this before she realizes that the person that was “sneaking up on her” is actually Tindwyl the Terriswoman. Tindwyl obligates her to go shopping with herself and Allrianne, something Vin knows she will detest. They take a carriage to the market, the three women and OreSeur, who everything still assumes is just an ordinary wolfhound, along with Spook, who is forced to go to carry the girls’ bags. Vin manages to find a dress that she likes, and Tindwyl arranges for the dress to be made special for a Mistborn. Meanwhile, a someone has identifies Vin and a large crowd has gathered outside the storefront. Vin reluctantly goes outside to talk to them. They obviously worship her, calling her the Heir to the Survivor–Kelsier. She tries to say something that will inspire hope, but she feels that she is really just lying to them. Meanwhile, Elend is at the wall when Straff’s men attack. The guards and archers on the wall are in a total panic, and they barely kill a few of the invading wave before it retreats to the Venture camp. This was a test, just to try out Luthadel’s defenses, it is explained to Elend. Straff is sending a message, just before Elend is supposed to go out to the camp and talk to his father.
Vin opens the box sent from the dress maker, happy to find that the new dress is very well designed for a Mistborn, allowing her to move and fight freely. It even has secret hiding places for her daggers and some vials of metal. OreSeur does not think going is a good idea, since Vin and Elend would be alone in Straff’s army camp. Vin knows she must go anyway. Elend and Vin ride into the camp. Over the meal, Elend tries to manipulate Straff, but the man seems to catch on too quickly. Then he sends Vin out of the tent, so they can talk alone, father and son.
Straff and Elend talk inside, and things don’t seem to be going very well for Elend. Straff says he’ll just have Elend killed and demand Luthadel to open the gates to him. Elend says that if he is killed, Vin will kill Straff. Vin is outside, listening. She begins to manipulate Straff’s emotions, making him feel afraid. Finally, she smoothes away everything–every emotion he has, leaving him feeling empty and dead inside. The trick works, and Elend and Vin get out of the camp safe. Meanwhile, Zane has a little chat with Vin outside the tent, telling her that she is nothing but a knife to Elend. After they are gone, Straff commands Zane to kill Vin. Back in Luthadel, Elend learns that the assembly has voted to remove him as king.
The group meets together to see what they’re going to do about the assembly’s vote. They try to figure out if the assembly already has someone else in mind to put on the thrown, or if they simple want to send a warning to Elend because he has been ignoring them of late. The discussion leads to an argument between Breeze and Ham, as always, and Vin gets a taste of kandra humor when OreSeur whispers that he could always eat one of them and solve the argument. Later, Elend gets another lesson from Tindwyl about how a proper kind should act.
At night, Vin and OreSeur have a talk. OreSeur doesn’t think it’s healthy for Vin to keep herself awake for long periods of time, burning pewter to stay strong. He also doesn’t like the way Vin treats Zane, who should be her enemy. In the middle of the conversation, Vin realizes that she’s figured out what the Deepness is.
Sazed is in his room, studying and transcribing the rubbings he found. He knows that these few pages of transcribed text could keep him busy for months or even years. Vin enters through his window and wants to talk to him about the deepness. Sazed talks about if the deepness is even real or if it’s just a made-up story, some propaganda spun by the Lord Ruler. Vin says she thinks it’s real and tells Sazed that she thinks it’s actually the mist itself. The log book and the rubbings don’t say the mist actually killed people but that people died because of the mist. That could be because a permenant mist that covered the ground would kill crops and live stalk, leaving people to die of starvation. Vin also tells Sazed about the mist spirit that has been following her.
The assembly gathers, and Elend gets an opportunity to explain what he has done with his father. He uses twenty minutes to tell of the situation with the two armies and how his meeting with Straff went. He tells them that he used Vin’s power to threaten Straff, a move that may protect the city for some time yet. Meanwhile, Vin tries to pay attention to Elend’s meeting. She sees Zane in the crowd, and he smiles at her. They then have nominations for who should run for king. Elend and Lord Penrod are nominated, and, lastly, Cett is nominated. The man reveals himself to be in the crowd.
Vin sits in her room, studying the stacks of papers she has there. OreSeur is there with her, and they talk about the religious beliefs of the kandra. They practically worship the Contract above all else, the agreement they have with their human masters. Meanwhile, Elend discovers that some of the wells in Luthadel are being poisoned by someone, probably one of the armies outside. Vin talks to Dockson, and in the conversation, she determines that he can’t be the spy. She and OreSeur turn their attentions toward a new option: Demoux, a captain of the guard.
Elend works to find a way to convince the assembly to name him king again, while Vin wants to tell him her theory about Demoux. Tindwyle gets upset with Sazed when she finds out that he helped write part of the laws Elend put into place a year ago. Vin leaves the group and finds Zane, who immediately attacks her. She thinks he wants to spar, like before, but the fight becomes aggressive and Vin must fight him to survive. Zane tells her that he was ordered to kill her and that this attack was a warning. There are also many refugees coming from the koloss army, on their way to seek refuge in Luthadel. After giving his two warnings, Zane leaves.
Vin tries on another custom-made dress. Tindwyl tells her that Elend has nearly learned as much as he can from her; he’ll now have to learn to be a good leader through experience. Elend prepares his armored escort and carriage to go and see Cett. Breeze decides not to go, since he and Cett have history, which would only make the situation worse. When Elend and Vin actually enter the keep Cett is staying in and talk to the man, they discover just how sincere he is. He doesn’t want his daughter back, trusting that Elend will take good care of her. Cett wants Elend to step down from the election for king, and in return he won’t have Elend killed when he is made king. They also talk about the fact that no atium was found in all of Luthadel. Finally, Cett dismisses the two.
Sazed wanders through warehouse full of refugees from the koloss attacks, trying to help and health where he can. Tindwyl comes in and talks to him. She wants to see what he’s found–the rubbings he’s been transcribing. Meanwhile, Breeze has been listening in on the conversation, soothing both people in a way that would make them more friendly to each other. He walks among the refugees, trying to sooth away bad emotions and make them feel better. Elend and Ham come in, and Elend wants to make sure all the people have the clothes they need. Later, Breeze goes into the keep and has a secret meeting with Clubs. Though they always seem to hate each other, they drink together and talk; they’ve struck up a strange companionship. Allrianne walks in and tries to steal Breeze away. Vin, watching from outside, discovers that Allrianne is a rioter, since she was rioting Breeze’s emotions. She and OreSeur then go to find Demoux, still certain that he is the kandra spy. They find him in a little meeting of the church of the Survivor. He can’t be a spy, Vin decides. Then who is?
Sazed and Tindwyl sit together in the study, pouring over the rubbings, searching their metalminds for any references to the deepness or Hero of Ages. It’s morning, meaning they’ve been at it all night long. Tindwyl knows the course of actions Sazed takes is different from what the keepers want, but she is willing to stay with him and study these things further. Meanwhile, Elend and Ham walk along the wall. Ham comments that Elend looks more kingly than ever. As they walk, Elend announces that he has an idea to help Luthadel’s situation.
Vin, Elend, and the rest of the crew arrive early for the day of the election for king. Before the voting begins, Vin, trying to figure out what Elend has up his sleeve, discovers that he has joined the church of the Savior, in an effort to curry votes from the skaa members of the assembly. Suddenly, a groups of allomancers attack Elend and Cett. Vin manages to fight off the men, getting badly hurt in the process. After the fighting, the vote is moved to a more secure location, and the assembly members each announce their vote. Surprisingly, Penrod, a nobleman from the assembly is chosen the new king. Elend hands over his crown and leaves.
Straff Venture is angry that Zane sent a group of his allomancers to their deaths while Vin still lives. Zane promises that he has a plan to take care of her. Meanwhile, Straff meets with Penrod, the new king of Luthadel. Penrod is planning to give Luthadel to Straff, opening the gates to him and handing over the kingship. Straff, on the other hand, doesn’t want to enter the city while Vin still lives. Later, Zane tells Straff that he has been poisoned again. Zane leaves, and Straff is forced to ride hard back into the camp so his mistress can make him another antidote tea.
Vin awakes to see that Elend is with her. He tells her that he is not king, and he reports that OreSeur, who was badly hurt in the fight, is currently digesting a new set of bones. Vin feels that Elend is now scared of her somehow because of the way she fought those allomancers. Vin goes back to sleep, and awakes to find Zane there. He accuses her, saying that she could have killed those attackers easily had she not been so distracted with protecting Elend and other innocents. Later, OreSeur visits Vin, in another dog’s body. They talk more about the Contract that binds all kandra. Vin uses brass and duralumin to push strongly on OreSeur’s emotions. Even though he at first does not react at all, with enough force, Vin hurts him very badly, and she felt like she were controlling him for a moment. She apologizes for hurting OreSeur, and he leaves to get some rest. Vin promise to never tell anyone what she’s discovered about kandra.
Sazed and Tindwyl continue to talk about the things they are learning. Something doesn’t make sense about the rubbings, written by Kwaan. It seems that Kwaan did not trust Alendi, but he also knew Alendi was a good man. But if Kwaan knew Alendi was good, why did he have his nephew, Rashek, to mislead or even kill Alendi? Elend comes in and asks for advice. After a discussion, he decides that being king isn’t about a title, but about doing something to help others. He returns to his closet and retrieves the white suite, the one made for a king.
Elend is hard at work, helping the people. He’s sending men out to dismantle the wooden parts of keeps and houses to use as firewood. The many refugees are cold and hungry, and he wants to help them. Someone comes with news that one of the gates under the river has been broken. That is how someone has been getting into the city and poisoning the wells. Also, other reports say that an Inquisitor is lurking about the city. Elend decides to go out and talk to Jastes, with the koloss army, himself. He rides out and meets Jastes, unable to make any kind of deal. On the way out, Elend manages to fight and kill one smaller koloss, earning the sword and pouch as his own. He looks into the pouch and discovers how Jastes is controlling the koloss. He’s paying them.
Vin sees Elend, now returned from his meet with the koloss army, inured and resting. Zanes comes and says that Cett was the one that planed the attack at the voting ceremony. Vin gets angry and decides to attack Cett. Zane and Vin attack the keep that Cett has been staying at in Luthadel. Together, they kill guards and hazekillers. Fueled by rage, Vin kills quickly, working her way to Cett’s room. She realizes that Zane is using atium, while she has none, and yet she’s killing just as easily as he is. They finally get to Cett’s room, where he is with his son. Vin fights them at first, but when she discovers that neither of them is an allomancer and that Cett doesn’t have a single allomancer with him, she leaves them behind, injured and scared.
The crew sees that Cett’s army is now leaving, a result of Vin’s attack on his keep the night before. Elend does not know why Vin attacked Cett like that. Some in the crew think she’s crazy, but Elend just sees her as determined. They also discover that the “coins” Jastes has been using to control the koloss are fake, wooden coins painted gold. Elend goes to find Vin, who is hiding in the city. He finds her with OreSeur’s help. She says she must leave Luthadel and go north, to Terris. Elend says he trust her to do the right thing. They have one large bead of atium, and Vin gives it to OreSeur to hold for her.
Sazed and Tindwyl compare notes, studying the rubbing and other references they’ve managed to find. Tindwyl admits that she doesn’t believe in these prophecies, her interest in them being purely academic. Sazed, on the other hand, thinks Vin might actually be the next Hero of the Ages. While they talk, they discover that someone–or something–has torn a piece from one of the transcription pages. Vin comes in, while they try to figure out at what point were they both gone or occupied to not have seen an intruder going through their things. Vin asks Sazed how she can know if she’s in love. They talk about trust. After Vin leaves, Elend comes in and starts asking similar questions. Elend thinks he and Vin are too different to make a couple, but Sazed says that, to him, they are more alike than they think. After Elend leaves, Sazed realizes that Luthadel is going to fall soon; he needs to get both Elend and Vin out of the city before that happens.
Sazed calls a meeting with the members of the crew: Dockson, Breeze, Ham, and Clubs. He doesn’t invite Elend, Vin, or Spook. They talk about how the city is sure to fall. Straff apparently is in no hurry to take Luthadel. Instead, he’ll back off and let the koloss attack the city first. The koloss will win and enter the city, pillaging as they go. Then, with the koloss weakened and tired from the fight, Venture will ride in like a hero and save the city, defeating the koloss and taking Luthadel for himself. Sazed says that Elend and Vin need to get out of the city before these things happen. He wants Spook and Tindwyl to go with them. The rest of the group will have to stay and fight and die. Meanwhile, Vin feels she must follow the drumming she hears all the time. In Straff’s camp, Zane is attacked by his father’s men. He defeats them, but spares his father. He leaves, saying that tonight he will take Vin with him and leave Luthadel. He tells Straff that he should wait for the koloss to attack and then take the city.
Vin is in her room with OreSeur when Zane visits. He wants her to come with him, but she says she can’t because she doesn’t want to leave Elend. When Zane sees that she won’t go, he attacks her. They fight. When Zane starts to burn atium, Vin asks OreSeur for the large bead, a bead Zan had given her before. OreSeur doesn’t respond to her command. Vin discovers that OreSeur is not OreSeur. He is TenSoon, Zane’s kandra. Of course! There was no other spy. The bones they found were TenSoon’s and he had killed OreSeur! Zane corners Vin, but Vin uses a massive soothing to take control of OreSeur/TenSoon and attack Zane from behind. She then cuts the bead of atium fro TenSoon. But this is another trick. The bead is lead, with only a thin layer of atium. Soon, Vin is left helpless against a Mistborn killer with atium. Vin decides that Zane can see what she’s about to do, or, rather, what she plans on doing. If she attacks without thinking, though, she can, see in Zane’s reaction what she is going to do, only to change it at the last possible second. The trick works, and Vin defeats Zane. After Zane dies, she thanks OreSeur/TenSoon for helping her win. His contract is void, and he must return to his people. Vin goes to find Elend.
Elend is in his study when Vin comes in, bloody from her fight with Zane. She tells him that she killed him. He calls for Sazed, who comes to help with the wounds. While she is there, on the ground, she asks Sazed if he knows any wedding ceremonies. Of course, he knows hundreds. Vin asks which one is the shortest, and Sazed recalls one that only requires a declaration of love between the bride and groom before an ordained witness. Vin and Elend both say that they love each other, and Sazed declares them married. The wounds are clean, and Sazed sends Vin to get some rest. He also gives them a fake map to find the Well of Ascension. If the couple follows the map, they’ll be gone from Luthadel for a long time.
Elend and Vin prepare to ride out of the city. Tindwyl decides to stay in Luthadel. Spooks gets ready to go, and Allrianne will ride out, at Breeze’s insistence. So the four of them ride out, Vin quickly having to fight pursuers from Straff’s army. Once they are free, Allrianne breaks off to find her father’s army. Meanwhile, some of the crew watch as the escape, now sure of their own coming doom. Straff Venture hears of the escapes, but he has problems of his own now. He’s getting sick, which he knows is the result of poisoning from his son, Zane. He sends for his mistress, Amaranta, to fix him an antidote, but he discovers that she isn’t preparing what she normally does. She is actually killing, as she has for a long time. There never was any poison. Zane never tried to kill his father. But Amaranta, in her constant fixing of teas for Straff, has been causing him to become addicted to a rare drug. Without that drug, Straff will die. Straff, in a rage, kills Amaranta and then swallows as much powder from her medicine cabnet as he can, hoping to accidentally swallow some of the drug he needs before he loses consciousness.
Allrianne has made her way to her father’s camp, with the help of some bandits she’s tamed with her rioting. Her father, Cett, is not happy to see her. She convinces him to go back and join the winning party in the battle that is to come, although Cett promises that will likely be Straff. Meanwhile, Elend wakes up on the third morning out of Luthadel. He and Vin share a tent now, and he finds himself surprisingly comfortable on the hard ground, with Vin next to him. They get up and prepare the fire. It’s just the three of them: Elend, Vin, and Spook. Meanwhile Straff wakes up in bed. His men have taken care of him, and they’ve isolated the plant he needs to stay alive. When he hears that Vin and Elend have left the city, the men ask if they should attack now. Straff says no; they should pull back and wait for the koloss. Sazed meets with the others to plan a strategy for when the koloss attack. They plan to have a group of men at each gate. Saze and Tindwyl get a little time together, but then the warning drums begin to beat.
Vin is thinking about how the mist is staying later and later every day, instead of just disappearing with dawn, when she feels the pulsing of the mist spirit coming from Elend’s tent. She runs in, just in time to see the outline of that spirit lift some kind of knife to attack Elend, who is sleeping on the ground. She attacks the spirit and it disappears. Elend wakes up and never knows what was happening. She leaves Elend to sleep a little more and goes out to speak with Spook. He thinks someone is following them. Meanwhile, Sazed and the crew get ready, since it looks like the Koloss are about to attack. Men are at each gate, with one crewmember there to help. Straff sees that the koloss are attacking, but he tells his men to wait. Vin and Elend attack the camp of people that have been following them. It turns out to be Jastes. He’s lost control of the koloss, so he just left them. Elend kills Jastes because of his crimes against Luthadel. Vin discovers that the drumming sounds are getting softer, meaning the well is to the south, in Luthadel, and not in the Terris mountains.
Breeze works at his assigned gate, soothing soldiers by the dozen, helping them to be brave and fight well. The koloss pound at the door, while men atop the wall rain arrows down on the attackers. The koloss throw rocks up in return, smashing archers. Meanwhile, Vin runs towards Luthadel, burning pewter. She knows she will run out of pewter long before reaching Luthadel, and she wonders if the effect will kill her. But still she keeps running. Breeze and Clubs talk while the koloss continue to beat the gate. They blame themselves for being stupid enough to be in this mess, and they blame Kelsier for getting them into such responsibilities. Just then, the gates burst open. Meanwhile, Sazed gets word that Breeze’s gate had fallen. He doesn’t think he can really help. He notices that there is a crowd of skaa standing behind the defense force. When Sazed confronts them, telling them that they should flee to safety inside the city, the skaa answer that they are there to witness the fall of the koloss at the hands of Vin, who they are sure will return and make her appearance at Sazed’s gate. Then the gate breaks. Sazed musters his stored strength, growing in size, and faces the lead koloss, shouting for the men to fight. Vin, half collapsing and out of pewter, reaching a small village. At first she thinks to ask for pewter, but then she remembers how she used to travel with Kelsier on a path of metal bars in the ground. She asks for horseshoes, using them to “walk” by leaping, placing horseshoes ahead of her and pulling the ones behind to place further. In this way, she uses the horseshoes like stilts to help her travel in the air.
Outside Luthadel, Straff Venture sees that the koloss have now broken into the city gates. His men are ready to attack the koloss from the rear, but Straff decides to wait longer. Sazed, fighting the koloss, realizes that they need to get the gate closed again in order to survive. Using strength and weight, he manages to fight off the koloss and get the gate closed again. While getting a little break, a messenger comes and says that Tindwyl’s gate fell over an hour ago. Meanwhile, Clubs and Breeze are attacked and forced to run. Clubs is killed, while Breeze hides in a building. Dockson contemplates the root of their failure. He attacks a koloss, only to be cut down. Straff decides not to swoop in a save the city while the koloss are weak. Instead, he’d rather wait for the koloss to kill everyone and burn the city. Then Straff will move in. Meanwhile, Sazed fights on, wondering what happened to Tindwyl. He feels he is going to die, but then Vin arrives and starts killing koloss. Breeze is found by Ham and some others. They want to try to escape.
Vin continues killing koloss, several at a time. Sazed, outside Lord Penrod’s keep, begs the newly appointed king to go with them as they try to escape. Penrod insists on staying inside his keep. Vin continues to fight the koloss, but now she is almost completely out of pewter, steel, and almost every other metal. In desperation, to save some skaa from certain death, she super-soothes them, like she’d done to TenSoon, controlling the koloss with her mind. Sazed is standing outside Penrod’s keep when Vin walks up with koloss in tow. She orders Penrod to gather his men and put out the fires in Luthadel. Vin will take care of the koloss throughout the city. Later, Sazed finds Tindwyl’s dead body among the slain soldiers. He feels that all the faith, all the religions, he has always treasured is now useless. His life, he believes, has been a sham.
Straff wakes up and takes a sample of the drug he needs to stay alive. He gathers his men, expecting to be able to take the city now. But the koloss come out with the remaining soldiers of Luthadel. Vin jumps from among the koloss, sailing through the sky with a giant sword, cleaving Straff and his horse in half on impact. Allrianne watches these events from her father’s camp. She charges after them to help Luthadel’s army, forcing her father and his men to ride after her. Straff’s army surrenders, and Janarle, Straff’s general, is named the new Lord of the Venture army. Janarle, Penrod, and Cett all swear loyalty to Elend as their Emperor. Vin, needing rest, leaves Sazed in charge of the Empire until Elend can return to Luthadel.