by James Horton on December 1
As the story has been told, sixty-one years ago today, a Thursday, Rosa Parks, a tailor’s assistant at the Montgomery department store, left work in the late, cold evening, to catch the bus home. Sore and tired, Parks boarded and took an aisle seat, in the row immediately behind the whites only section. At each stop, more passengers boarded, until finally every seat was taken, leaving one white male standing. It was the era of Old Jim Crow, blacks were a class of lives that Segregation customs in 1955 Montgomery stipulated that Blacks must relinquish their seats to whites when the situation is required. This was a situation. When Parks, however, was asked to give up her seat, she did the opposite of what was required. She kept seated.
She proudly stepped into criminal terrain where she was arrested and jailed. Her calm labor pains, so the story goes, birthed a boycott, a movement, and a young Martin Luther King, Jr. to the world.
Today is Rosa Parks Day. (Well, technically speaking, two days are set aside to observe Mrs. Parks. One on Dec. 1, the other on Feb 4, her birthday) After facing such a pivotal election, I want to honor the occasion by inviting everyone to reconsider the scope of history we’ve faced.
Rosa Parks was the result of ancestors, and her ancestors the work generations before her. She was the product of the communal frustration that had been churning in black southerners since the end of Reconstruction; of scarred slaves and apprehensive free persons who had spent their lifetime fighting and dying for the great cause of human equity for black lives and, by extension, all lives. Many of their names are lost to time. Her life WAS activism, and for that reason on December 1955, we can never forget Rosa Parks Day!