The real Rosa Parks turns 100

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Rosa Parks would have been 100 years old on February 4.

History reembers her as the lady who sat down on that Montgomery, Alabama bus on December 1,1955. Her act of civil disobedience  launched the famous bus boycott and the astounding career of the twenty-six year old minister who had just come to town, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many believed that Mrs. Parks spontaneously sat down and that she was simply tired of Jim Crow. Nothing could be further from the tuth.Rosa Parks was a serious citizen, a committed agitator against the moral ugliness of segregation.

Rosa’s husband whom she married in her late teens, Ray Parks  was a dedicated NAACP member. Rosa accompanied him to meetings and her understanding of segregation grew apace. Rosa Parks then attended the Highlander Folk  School an amazing “school of resistance” run by a brave white southerner named Myles Horton. His life as well needs to be reclaimed and celebrated.The Highlander School was dedicated to nonviolent resistance and Horton was its dynamic leader. He had studied theology under the great Reinhold Niebuhr at Union Theological in New York. The serious Presbyterian returned on fire spreading the social gospel and racial justice  at his school. Rosa Parks was one of hundreds who were inspired by Horton.Pete Seeger was another.

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We need to put an end to the myth that somehow this simple woman was just simply  tired and spontaneiusly refused to move.It was  never like this.The spark that lit the civil rights movement was merely the culmination of a personal and social struggle, long prepared by others in their mutual commitment to a more inclusive and healthier society.

The Neville Brothers salute Rosa Parks

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1 Comment »

  1. 1
    wmgrace Says:

    Guess we can credit the mainstream media for the disinformation around Rosa’s courageous act and her heroic life in civil rights. Bottom line though, is that the enormity of the act and the level of courage demonstrated on that day December 1st 1955, stands out whether it was the strategic action of a civil rights worker, or the desperate act of an exhausted and oppressed member of the black community. Clearly both scenarios still resonate with the entire world.

    Maybe the white-owned press was afraid to reveal the real truth around Rosa’s life since it would also reveal a serious, well-organized, thoughtful and broad-based civil rights movement of biblical vision and principle.


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