- The South has come a long way since 1955.
- My hero of all heroes is Rosa Parks.
- I was named after a plantation in a 1939 film.
I had heard yesterday about this request, but didn't until about 4 am today realize the story behind it. The people in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia have requested that Tara Boulevard be renamed after Rosa Parks, the black civil rights icon.
There are about a million reasons why this is important to me, but the number one reason why this is important to the Atlanta suburb of Jonesboro is that it reflects a demographic shift. Tara Blvd. is only one of many roadways with names reflecting an appreciation for the old South. Tara, the plantation which was home to the family of Scarlet O'Hara in Margaret Mitchell's classic Gone With the Wind, represents an old plantation mentality that some feel is degrading to the image of women and most certainly African-Americans. This request to rename it after Rosa Parks proves that Clayton County, Georgia has a better understanding, respect, and admiration for women, blacks, and civil rights in general than they did when the street was originally named Tara.
Because I was named Tara for the stability, strength, and grounded consistency of Ms. Scarlet's plantation, I of course am attached to the Gone With the Wind sentiment, but because I am also the biggest fan of Rosa Parks, I can think of nothing more appropriate than the renaming of Tara Boulevard for the recently deceased civil rights icon.
If Parks were alive, her humility would request no renaming happen, but in her passing I believe the South, the country at large, and a movement to honor her, will allow that the street be renamed. In my mind there are two types of strength, the type of strength that is always present, a stable force always recognizable, like the plantation Tara, and the type of strength that steps up in moments of turmoil. It is only fitting that one strength be replaced by another.
As Bill Perry said in the artilce, "the Wind done gone."