Rosa Parks, a gentle giant

Rosa Parks was a woman of quiet strength and dignity who displayed incredible courage in the bastion of racial hatred in segregated America in the 1950s---Montgomery, Alabama---to spark a movement for change that liberated both the oppressed and the oppressors. Rosa Parks, branch secretary for the local NAACP, remained in her seat so never again African Americans would bow down. Her single act spearheaded the civil rights movement, which inspired people of goodwill, freedom fighters, and liberation movements across the globe, and served as a living testament to the power of one individual to make positive change in humanity's struggle for equality and justice.

Parks' act of defiance on December 1, 1955---refusing to give her seat to a White man on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus and subsequently arrested, fingerprinted and fined $14----galvanized the African-American community under the leadership of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in a year-long boycott of the Montgomery bus system. People walked to work, shop and school, carpooled, and used black-owned taxis, despite threats, bombs, and job firings. The boycott continued until December 1956 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision declaring unconstitutional the state and local laws segregating Montgomery buses.

The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement singular act did not occur in a vacuum. Often described as a quite seamstress, two decades earlier, working with her husband, Raymond Parks, a NAACP activist, Parks fought valiantly for the defense of the Scottsboro Boys, nine African-American men pulled off a train and falsely accused of raping two White women. They were found guilty and executed in 1931.

Rev. Willie T. Barrow, board member of Rainbow PUSH Coalition, considered Rosa Parks her mentor. The civil rights stalwart, affectionately known as "the little warrior" has toiled in the valley with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Jesse Jackson. On that historic "Bloody Sunday"on the Edmund Pettis Bridge during the March to Selma, in the quiet before the storm when the Alabama state troopers prepared to use tear gas and police dogs on peaceful protesters, Barrow recalled, "In that quiet little voice, she kept saying, we're going to win. We're going to win."

And she won. After the bus boycott, the Parks family moved to Detroit where she worked as a staff assistant to U.S. Representative John Conyers Jr. In 1987, Parks helped found the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Improvement and received the Presidential Medal of Honor from Bill Clinton in 1999. In death, she became the first woman in U.S. history to lay in state Capitol Rotunda.

Barrow said Rosa Parks' life showed the power of one woman to change the world. Barrow has received condolences from well-wishers from as far away as France and South Africa. She hopes women see Rosa Parks as a motivating force for someone who earned the world's respect and gratitude simply by holding on to her convictions.

Comments

A LOT OF MUSLIMS NEED TO REALIZE WERE IT NOT FORROSA PARKS ALOT OF IMMIGRANTS WOULD NOT ENJOYTHE SATUS OF HONORARY WHITE PEOPLE. THE CIVIL RIGHTSMOVEMENT HELPED ALL PEOPLE OF COLOR. MY SUDANESEANCESTOR WAS CALLED A NIGGER, THE SAME AS MY AFRO AMERICAN ONES. BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSTRUGGLE

Location

CANTON OHIO

As-Salaam-u alaikum;As a participant in the Civil Rights struggle after first making fun of it, I take my hat off to her and to Sis. Coretta Scott King (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's. wife who was hospitalized a few weeks ago).I did not know and or appreciate what they were doing until my second trip, as a Marine infantryman, to Vietnam. What they were going through and trying to achieve in a hot war, we were going through in a cold war. I started developing my activist nature in Vietnam and hope that I have it until I die. It's a shame that the so called Christian churches condoned the peculiar institution of slavery as it was known due to how it was practiced in America. And the Church had to be shamed into standing up for the right as Jesus ('Isa [a.]) would have done from the very beginning. May Allah bless her for the good that she did and grant her as much grace as He can? Amin. Study the history of the development of the Bible and in the Qur'an: Al Baqarah 2:174-177, 284-286; Ali 'Imran 3:42-63, 81-91, 102-117; Al Ma'idah 5:41-50; Al Anbiya' 21:24-100; Al Hajj 22:65-78; Al Mu'minun 23:23-56. If you do not study the above you may make a grave error in any criticism that you may give me, constructive or otherwise. May Allah bless the believers, men and women, and the Muslims, men and women, to get on His straight way of living? And may He lead, govern, guide, and protect us as He did all of the righteous minded activists in the past? Amin.

Location

Marshall, Mo.

Unfornately,many people,especially those who were not born at the time,might minimize the efforts of this small women,who took giant steps,but just imagine the courage it took to do what she did at time when she did it. Try to remember,this was the time when African Americans were treated no better than dogs. There was so much racial tensions during these times,and for her to risk her life to make a statement is magnificent. Can we honestly say we could do it? Thanks for recognizing a courageous woman.

Location

Delaware

I appreciate anyone who honors such a person as Rosa Parks. I am one of the " baby boomers" that were around during that period of the civil rights struggle. She was truly a "little" warrior in her own right. I admire her courage under the brutal circumstances that all African-Americans, especially those who lived in the Jim Crow south, had to face back during that era. When I learned that this couragious lady had past, tears welled up in my eyes. We should all admire her courage, and what she stood up for no matter what our races, colors, religions, genders, or creeds are.

Location

Oakland, Ca.

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