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Femi  Lewis

Rosa Parks: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement

By December 31, 2012

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once called Rosa Parks, "the great fuse that led to the modern stride toward freedom." Like so many women before her, Parks changed history with one single action: she refused to be mistreated. She summoned courage to act, which led to a 381 day bus boycott that culminated in integrated buses.

Comments

January 9, 2013 at 3:09 pm
(1) Daphne Wilkerson says:

I pause to honor the memory of Rosa Parks. I wish we could look beyond the pop myth and recognize those aspects of Mrs. Parks’ life that resulted in the success of her cause and the breaking of Jim Crow.

First, Mrs. Parks was prepared for the action she took; she didn’t just throw a tantrum. She didn’t refuse to get up simply because she was tired. Mrs. Parks’ mistreatment by the bus service dated as far back as twelve years before in 1943. Further, she did not just act alone. She was an officer in the NAACP in Montgomery.

Second, she was prepared. She had taken training in Tennessee on civil disobedience; she was a high school graduate and a registered voter (a status that required a difficult written test for African Americans at that time.)

Third, she was connected. She was married (not that that’s a requirement, but she could afford to engage in civil disobedience because she was not a sole bread winner for her family); she was active in her church and community.

As working men and women, we’ve too often lost that working together spirit required for lasting change. I hope the symbol of Mrs. Parks reminds us that it’s about individuals acting in commuity that results in real change.

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