Question 33 - Reading Practice Test for the ACT

Based on the passage, what is the best explanation of a “ripple effect”?

This is a passage dealing with an historical event.

Rosa Parks: Fighting for Freedom

Rosa Parks is now known for her contribution to the civil rights movement through her refusal to give up her seat on an Alabama bus. Though this may have seemed a small victory initially, it gave birth to a city-wide movement, and pushed the civil rights movement one step further. Rosa Parks is now celebrated for her bravery and integrity, and is widely regarded as a significant contributor to the civil rights movement in the 1950s.

The evening of December 1st, 1955, Rosa Parks (born Rosa Louise McCauley) stepped onto a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, on her way home from work as a seamstress. The 42 year old woman, entirely within her rights at the time, sat directly behind the bus seats reserved for white men and women. These reserved seats, however, proved insufficient, as a white man boarded the bus and was unable to find a seat in the designated area. Upon discovering this, the bus driver approached Parks, and those sitting around her, and demanded that they give up their seats. Though those surrounding her obliged, Rosa Parks quietly and peacefully refused to move. As a result, Parks was eventually arrested and convicted of a crime. She went on to contest her conviction and spurred a movement against segregation in Alabama.

While Rosa Parks’ actions were entirely spontaneous and were not planned or predetermined, her bravery and courage in the face of opposition incited action in others. As a long-standing affiliate of the NAACP, her simple refusal encouraged others in Montgomery, Alabama to stand up and a bus system boycott was soon in place. This boycott lasted for over one year, until a judge ruled that segregation was not lawful under the constitution. The segregation laws were lifted, and the Montgomery bus boycott was lifted. The boycott, under the leadership of one Martin Luther King Jr., was a rousing success, and was inspired by one woman’s courage to stand up against her oppressors. Though this boycott was not the first of its kind, it was the first to stay strong amidst anger, fear, and intimidation, and was the first to contribute significantly to the civil rights movement.

Parks is later recorded as recognizing the role buses played in her life as an African American woman; as a child, she was unable to ride a school bus due to the color of her skin, and was forced to walk while her white peers rode to school in a bus. Just as Rosa’s small action created a ripple effect, it is likely this small remembrance from her childhood spurred a righteous indignation in Parks, and gave her the strength to refuse to give up her seat for a white man.

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