Montgomery Bus Boycott and Physical Courage

1 January 2017

Winston Churchill once said that “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. ” Courage is defined as the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation. There are four types of courage that will be presented in this essay. They are physical, moral, intellectual and social courage. “If you worried about falling off the bike you’d never get on. ”  Lance Armstrong.

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Physical courage is the type most people think of first, the one that allows us to risk discomfort, injury, pain or even death such as climbing a mountain or swimming with a great white shark. When I think of physical courage the fire fighters and police officers at the world trade center on 9/11 come to mind first. While thousands of people were fleeing to safety these men and women were entering the buildings trying to save lives. Knowing there is a chance they may never see their family or friends ever again. For many they ultimately sacrificed their lives to save others.

Even though it was their job they all had physical courage on that day and on a daily basis. “The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their mind to be good or evil. ” Hannah Arendt. Moral courage  means doing the right thing even at the risk of inconvenience, ridicule, punishment, loss of job or security or social status. Moral courage requires that we rise above the apathy, complacency, hatred, cynicism, and fear-mongering in our political systems, socioeconomic divisions, and cultural/religious differences.

Rosa Parks was often spoken of as having great moral courage, when she stayed in her seat on December 1 1995 and refused to move. She realized the absurdity of the moment and refused to cave in; from there, people were inspired to put together the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the start of what we now call the Civil Rights Movement. “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. ” Marie Curie. Intellectual courage means being willing to grapple with difficult or confusing concepts and ask questions and being willing to struggle to gain understanding and risk making mistakes.

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