Remembering Rosa Parks – 55 years later

Filed in Gather News Channel by on December 1, 2010 0 Comments

It was December 1st, 1955. A tired Rosa Parks took her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, heading home after a long day’s work as a seamstress. She sat in the front seat of the “black” section of the bus, like many others did in the days when men hated each other so badly, we separated ourselves from one another by silly laws.


Rosa Parks was the catalyst which set everything else in motion.

But, as remembered by CNN, the “white” section of the bus was full. The bus driver failed in his attempt to order Rosa Parks to give up her seat, so a white man could sit there. She refused. In so doing, and unknown to her, she was about to change the world for the better.


Would any of us cave in to the pressure?

By staunchly refusing to give up her seat, even in the face of criticism from other passengers on the bus with her, Rosa Parks brought herself an arrest by city police and a conviction for disorderly conduct four days later. But, that’s just the beginning of the glorious part. The arrest and conviction of Rosa Parks initiated a 381-day boycott of the bus system by blacks in Montgomery, Alabama, organized by then 26-year-old minister Martin Luther King Jr.


While any American schoolkid could likely tell you who Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was, we should make it a point to never forget what Rosa Parks did that day. While Dr. King led a movement, fueled by the emotion and power of thousands of protesters, Rosa Parks did just one thing: She refused. She refused, because even “authority” can be wrong. Rosa Parks refused, even when under the pressure from the other passengers on that bus.


Rosa Parks is the real hero of the civil rights movement.

If it can be called courage to march and speak, backed up by thousands of supporters, television, and coverage by the nation’s news media, then what can we call a single act of stubborn defiance, over an otherwise trivial matter? If we call brave, the taking a stand as part of an entire movement of a people, what title do we give the soul all alone, and simply standing up for what’s right?


As a people, a conglomeration of different groups, we can say all manner of wise thoughts about right and wrong. But, as an individual, can we all have the courage of that one woman whom though all alone, simply refused and stood her ground? When the moment of truth arrives in our lives, will we be as self-confident, defiant, and as beautiful as Rosa Parks? We may have lost Rosa Parks five years ago, but her example of the courageous choice, at the right moment, remains for us all.

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