Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks: My Hero of All Heroes

"Take advantage of the opportunities, no matter how few there are." --Rosa Parks

When I was a kid when asked who I wanted to be when I grew up more often than not my answer was Rosa Parks. As a kid I didn't understand that Rosa Parks was larger than life, a character I could never become. When all my other friends wanted to be women like Sally Ride and Shannon Miller, women who were currently at the top of their fields, I wanted to be a civil rights icon from a year foreign to me. All I wanted was to hold inside me that type of courage, that type of strength, and that solid recognition of what was right and wrong for the sake of history and an entire race. Not a lot has changed since I was a kid.

This morning when I read that Rosa Parks passed away, I'll be honest with you, I cried. There is this unbelievable respect, admiration, and honor I hold for Rosa Parks and will for the rest of my life.

In my view of history the Civil Rights Movement began December 1, 1955 when an unknown black seamstress refused to move to the back of the bus. In my view of history it was one of the most important events of that era. In my view of history I hold her higher than the likes of Jack and Bobby Kennedy. She never has competition in my mind because she exemplified grace under fire. Even today, fifty years later, people know who Rosa Parks was and they know what she did. Actions do in fact speak louder than words.

Rosa Parks


Tara A. Rowe said...

As I have been watching the news coverage of the death of Rosa Parks for the first time in my life I am thankful to have not lived through the assassinations of 1963 and 1968. Rosa Parks was 92 years old and I'm taking it pretty hard. Four men, Jack Kennedy, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr., and Bobby Kennedy were young and vibrant and slain in their prime. I can't imagine what it would have been like to live through the turbulent sixties.

Nick Speth said...

How can you not respect Ms. Parks. It's proper to mourn for her but her legacy is undeniable.

Tara A. Rowe said...

The two Democratic presidents that I struggle most with were Clinton and LBJ. One of Clinton's redeeming qualities was his recognition of Ms. Parks. And for LBJ, he did afterall award Carl Sandburg with the Congressional Medal of Freedom.

Nick Speth said...

How come only Democrat Presidents get to be called by their initials?

FDR, JFK, LBJ... I'm pushing for GWB... Okay on second thought I'm not. The NEXT Republican president down the pipe, I'm pushing for initials.

Except I don't think that Giuliani has a middle name. Oh well.

Tara A. Rowe said...

Those of us in the political science realm call Teddy Roosevelt TR...but really I'd never thought about it.

Anonymous said...

Rosa Parks, a hero by any standard, even if she declined to call herself one. She will be missed, but not forgotten. My brown sons run small businesses, have great families, live in neighborhoods they choose, and when they run into racists, they think the folks are crazy, having nothing to do with my sons. Rosa was the strength that helped me when I was a young mother facing a racist society with my own courage and decisions. We never met, but she has always been with me.