Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Legacy of Rosa Parks: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement


Rosa Parks Dies at 92.
The celebrated heroine of the American Civil Rights Movement who inspired Martin Luther King Jr., died Monday evening at her home in Detroit.

Rosa Parks was the fearless African-American Amazon who defied the Jim Crow Laws of the American south when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white racist and preferred to be arrested. The arrest of Rosa Parks triggered a 381-day boycott of the bus system organized by a then little-known Baptist minister, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who later earned the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.


She was born Rosa Louise McCauley on Feb. 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Ala. Family illness interrupted her high school education, but after she married Raymond Parks in 1932, he encouraged her and she earned a diploma in 1934. He also inspired her to become involved in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP.)

Rosa Parks was the heroine of not only her own people, the African- Americans, but also the heroine of the Black Race and the heroine of all oppressed women everywhere. Rosa Parks is also the heroine of all the oppressed masses who have been relegated to the backgrounds of second class or third class citizens irrespective of your colour or creed. Because, it is not only in racial discrimination that we feel deprived and disenfranchised, but in all forms of discriminations whether of racial or social and religious or political dimensions.

A Montgomery (Ala.) Sheriff's Department booking photo of Rosa Parks taken Feb 22, 1956, is shown Friday, July 23, 2004, in Montgomery, Ala. Parks, whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man sparked the modern civil rights movement, died Monday Oct. 24, 2005. She was 92. (AP Photo/Montgomery County (Ala.) Sheriff's office)

Rosa Parks refused to surrender her birthright to a usurper and supplanter who wanted to deny her right to her rightful place in the society. She has taught us that we should never give away what is our fundamental human right no matter the threat of the wicked enemies of human progress. For whosoever threatens to deprive you of your fundamental human right is not only your enemy, but also the enemy of humankind.

As we remember the bus ride that Rosa Parks had and changed the course of the history of the black race in America and also changed the history of America and restored the lost dignity, integrity and nobility of her people who have been stripped of the honour of humanity by their slave drivers and task masters who pretended to know God, but were only wolves in sheep clothing for they were not true Christians, we should not be afraid of the challenges we are still facing today in America and other places where racial acrimony and social disharmony threaten the security and unity of humanity.

All the white lies of America that their founding fathers were Christians have been proved to be false by the bitter truth in the irrefutable facts of history. That the so-called founding fathers of America were hypocrites and racists who only paid lip service and eye service to God. And today posterity cannot be deceived by such hypocrisy and double standards of the American society that wants to claim to be a Christian country? America is not a Christian nation. America is a secular country. And the so-called founding fathers of America were not true Christians. They were only free thinkers and mere church-goers.

Let us remember the revolutionary words of Rosa Parks on the bus on that fateful day of December 1st, 1955 when that White racist demanded her seat and Rosa Parks refused fearlessly.
"Are you going to stand up?" the bus driver asked.
"No," Parks answered.
"Well, by God, I'm going to have you arrested," the driver said.
"You may do that," Parks responded.

Mrs. Parks was 42 when she committed an act of defiance in 1955 that was to change the course of American history and earn her the title "mother of the civil rights movement."
At that time, Jim Crow laws in place since the post-Civil War Reconstruction required separation of the races in buses, restaurants and public accommodations throughout the South, while legally sanctioned racial discrimination kept blacks out of many jobs and neighborhoods in the North.
The Montgomery, Ala., seamstress, an active member of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was riding on a city bus Dec. 1, 1955, when a white man demanded her seat. Mrs. Parks refused, despite rules requiring blacks to yield their seats to whites. Two black Montgomery women had been arrested earlier that year on the same charge, but Mrs. Parks was jailed. She also was fined $14.

Rosa Parks paid the price of the sacrifice for the emancipation of all the oppressed people everywhere, not only in America, but all over the world. And as we continue with our lives, let us not forget the legacy of Rosa Parks as she said:
"I am leaving this legacy to all of you ... to bring peace, justice, equality, love and a fulfillment of what our lives should be. Without vision, the people will perish, and without courage and inspiration, dreams will die — the dream of freedom and peace."

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