Monday, October 24, 2005

Rosa Parks

I've spent the last few evenings listening to Martin Luther King Jr's 'I have a dream' speech in its entirety. I've now listened to it about three times and although it is known as a great speech, it's truly greater than I ever gave it credit for.

At the height of my appreciation for the heroes of the civil rights movement I just learned that Rosa Parks died. This all reminds me of a story my mom has told me several times.

My mom (like me) grew up in Seattle and went to school in what was possibly the most diverse high school in the history of our dumb state. She took for granted that people could get along or hate each other without the benefit of race entering into the equation. While traveling in the south she got on a bus and took a seat. She noticed a black man reach up into her seat and take something off of it. She looked back and it was a sign that read: These seats are reserved for our colored patrons." She had accidentally sat in "their section" without knowing it and as a result was embarrassed to the point of tears. She begged their pardon and they thought she was crazy.

Rosa Parks went to jail and paid a $14 fine because she felt she was entitled to sit in any seat she felt comfortable in. She could've moved and avoided a scene, or worse but there is a point for everyone where freedom is more important. Living free requires people in every generation to remind the rest of us what Thomas Jefferson knew in his heart, but wasn't able to fully understand in his time: All men are created equal.

God Bless Rosa Parks

2 comments:

Esther said...

Hear, hear. That's such a good post I can't think of a comment!

Tetris said...

I didn't know that Rosa Parks was still alive. I would have given up my seat for her.