Rosa Parks – Courageous Citizen
Was the title of the book by Ruth Ashby, which was part of the Sterling Biographies Series. Rosa Parks story of struggle is more than an African American story but an American History lesson.
It should be read by every American citizen because it’s a election year. Now is the time to show your anger at politicians who don’t do their job. Stand up, get out and vote! If you don’t like the choices, take your best guess. Too many have paid the price for you to make your selection. As a two time military veteran I been to places where people don’t have Freedom of choice.
“Before King there was Rosa Park. She is who inspired us … to be fearless when facing our oppressors”. - these were the words of the seventy-one year old Nelson Mandela in his opening remarks when he arrived at the Detroit Metro Airport after having spent twenty-seven years in prison resisting the apartheid policies of the all white South African government.
[Rosa Parks] was seventy-seven at this time. She was an example that one determined person could make a difference and change the course of history. This is a film clip of the movie but I started this blog from a trip that I took and the book I bought.
I bought the book while attending a recent event in a Philadelphia PA high school that had a lot of vendors around the high school auditorium. I was drawn to the book, because I had recently sat on the same seat as [Rosa Parks] over 60 years ago. I was on the (fully restored Montgomery Alabama Cleveland Avenue bus that was on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Michigan).
The legendary Dick Gregory was the key note speaker at the Philadelphia event and when he started his presentation he mentioned [Rosa Parks] as the pioneer that started a movement. I knew I had made a wise purchased of the book from the local vendor who was outside the auditorium at the event.
The Henry Ford Museum organization wrote a detailed article titled ["What if I don't move to the back of the bus?"] They said that Rosa Parks brought together a unique blend of life experiences, a commitment to racial justice and a flawless reputation to transform a single act of defiance into a defining moment for the the modern American Civil Rights movement.
In chapter one I learned about Rosa Park roots; her great-great grand father was a Scottish man who arrived here as an indentured servant. He married another member of the household, a black slave and they had nine children together. They bought land in Alabama after the Civil War and raised their kids.
Her grandfather was the son of a white plantation owner and a Black housekeeper. Both of his parents died when he was young, and he was mistreated. As a results he was the one, that taught Rosa not to put up with bad treatment from anybody.
After World War I (1919) as [African American soldiers] returned home eager to assert their rights but, there was a group that wanted things to stay the same. This was the Ku Klux Klan that rampaged through Alabama and the south burning churches, homes and businesses and terrorizing folks.
Seven year old Rosa was scared, yet not wanting to miss anything once sleep on the floor of the front porch, as her Grandfather sat in his rocking chair with his shotgun in his lap ready to defend his home. The klan didn’t come to their house but they went to others and many black folks were beaten and lynched.
This is the year (2016), in which another version of Birth of a Nation is coming out. It’s about the Nate Turner Rebellion.
The other Birth of a Nation was in 1915. D.W. Griffith’s version was praised for it technical skill and infamous for the distortion and negative imagery of Black folks which were White folks dressed up in black face; it was North vs South, Union vs Confederate, Peace vs War, Black vs White, all the Blacks were villains and the KKK were the heroes.
Rosa was not the first to try and defy the unfair segregation law (two other women had also tried, to include an African American English professor from Alabama State University named Jo Ann Robinson) but Rosa was the one with the flawless character, quiet strength and the moral fortitude to stand the legal system at that time. The people of Montgomery boycotted and didn’t ride the buses for 381 days.
As a results the US Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation was illegal on the public buses in Alabama. That was followed by more non-violent protest which catapulted a young baptist minister name Martin Luther King Jr. into prominence.
The Courageous Citizen is a easy read with only 124 pages and it is loaded with pictures. The age range is 10 years and up but the subject matter and pictures are priceless. I read it in one afternoon and it took me down memory lane.
Rosa moved to Detroit MI where her brother lived after returning from World War II. She witnessed the [Detroit riots of 1943] in which 34 people were killed and thousands were injured. I personally witnessed the [1967 Detroit] riots because I was a teenager in my last year of high school at home along while Pop was out of town. It took seven thousand US National Guard and Army troops to restore calm after a eight day period. I just looked on with disbelief and didn’t do anything stupid like getting arrested or shot. And because of that I was able to leave the city the next year, to join the military.
The lady who kept her seat and started a movement did many things:
* In 1963 she attended the March on Washington in which Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous I have a Dream Speech.
* In 1965 she attended the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights.
* In 1987 she founded Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development to teach young people about the history of civil rights in America.
* In 1992 she published her first book, My Story, an autobiography for young people.
* In 1996 Rosa received the Presidential Metal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton.
* In 2000 the Rosa Parks Library and Museum was opened by Troy University in Montgomery Alabama.
* At the time of her death in 2005 at the age of ninety-two her body lay in state in the U.S. Capital for two days, making her the first woman to be given that honor. (Included in the book Courageous Citizen is a picture of President George W. Bush paying his respects to Rosa Parks).
People forget that the United States of America is a unique social experiment. Everybody here came from someplace different. The Native Americans were here when Columbus arrived. Others that followed, arrived as passengers while others arrived as cargo. It’s because of the principles of Freedom that people still come here. A few [high lighted links] are included for you to get the rest of the lesson. When I was in school I was taught that Christoper Columbus was credited for discovering America. He may have discovered it but people were already here. And people are still coming.
I fight my economic battle through the internet. If you want to tell your story your way then Kalatu is one way to do it. If you want better health then [TotalLifeChanges] may be for you. But if you want to protect your money then you need to see the [real money on line]. If all you have is a job, it doesn’t matter how much you make, you may be in for a surprise – no matter who gets in office.