Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Day to Accurately Remember

The legendary Rosa Parks passed away today. She was 92. This passing represents not only her shift from labor to reward, but the passing of a legend.

No, she was not a legend because she did not give up her seat. The history books need to clarify. She's a legend because of the plans successfully implemented before and after that led to the events concerning the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 382 days in 1955, resulting in the U.S. Supreme Court to consider segregation on busses illegal.

Mrs. Parks is an icon. As a laborer for peace, she worked for the NAACP and was trained how to handle situations such as physical protest safely. Her longevity of life suggests she did that very well.

Rosa Parks should be remembered not as black lady who refused to give up her seat after a hard day's work, as some of our history books claim. Yet, Rosa Parks should be remembered most for her behind the scenes efforts during the Civil Rights Movement. Not giving up your seat was not new when Rosa Parks came along--other women had done so but did not meet the successful, subsequent litigating criteria outlined by the NAACP for what they thought would generate a campaign to end segregation on busses.

If just refusal to give up your seat was all the criteria needed for her great memory, we would be calling several other women the "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement." But, perhaps only Rosa Parks deserves that title.

She is a testament to the fact that the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s in the United States was not only about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but that many black women worked behind the scenes during an era of second class gender relations and understandings to get the job done.

Yes, our noted men leaders obviously did their part. But, behind each of them was a determined woman---whether it was a wife, a neighbor, a church member, or a friend. The woman proudly gave her all for the est of us to live better.

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