The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Rosa Parks...History As "We Do Not Know" It And A Happy Birthday

The Progressive Influences by policy and practice avoided setting aside publishing about African-Americans and our corner of the universe of US History until (February) as Black History Month. We acknowledge and educate about African-American contributions to US History on a daily basis via pages on the site that are less viewed (e.g., The History Buff). Yet, we take advantage of the proliferation and publication of information that others move to the top of their information base during Black History Month.  The following NPR, New Hour, with Gwen Ifill is one such video accompanied screed. 


Time never slows, time never stops.  

Rosa Parks was a historic activist in the struggle to rid the US South of inhumane and stifling Jim Crow. Since, you know the story, we will post a short extract (and link) about her civil disobedience.  We wish a Happy 100th Birthday, to an activist whom the nation owes so very much. Somehow we feel the spirit of Ms. Parks can hear the birthday wishes and she smiles


Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African-American civil rights activist, whom the U.S. Congress called "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement".[1]

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake's order that she give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation. Others had taken similar steps in the twentieth century, including Irene Morgan in 1946, Sarah Louise Keys in 1955, and the members of the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit (Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith) arrested months before Parks. NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws though eventually her cased became bogged down in the state courts. [2]

Parks' act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement.
Read More 

Gwen Ifill, NPR, has published an 'outside the box' screed about MS Parks of old and Ms. Parks of today. The screed describes a legacy with twists and turns to Civil Rights history. Despite public knowledge that Ms. Parks had attended what is commonly referred to as a 'civil disobedience' class (training workshop), may have written that her act of historic defiance was an "on the spot, I am tired" protest act.   

GWEN'S TAKE -- February 7, 2013 at 3:50 PM EDT
Gwen's Take: Happy 100th Birthday, Rosa Parks
Jeanne Theoharis, a political science professor at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, knew there was more to Parks' story, even though bits and pieces of it have appeared in various history books. She also knew no one had written a scholarly biography of the woman who captured a nation's imagination. 
That's in part because many of Mrs. Parks' papers and belongings remain locked away, the subject of a dispute between the organization she founded and her family. That has made her writings and artifacts -- including Smithsonian-worthy items like her eyeglasses and papers -- inaccessible to historians, held in storage by an auction house hoping to sell them for many millions of dollars. 
But what Theoharis does reconstruct in her book, "The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks," is illuminating. She was not meek. She was not used. She was as fond of Malcolm X as she was of Martin Luther King Jr.
Parks's defiant act may not have been the first such act of defiance, it may have been for less spontaneous than history has archived, but it equals the significant efforts of others like Medgar Evers in helping free a people.   It was an act that (whether planned of not planned) moved civil rights activism forward.  

After many years of reports, and thinking Jackie Robinson was the very and only first African-American big league professional baseball player, I was startled to learn differently. 

Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey


In 1947, the same year Jackie Robinson became the first African-American player in the major leagues, Veeck signed Larry Doby to be the first African-American player in the American League.
Larry Doby

 Rosa Parks is iconic.
 Jackie Robinson is iconic.

Larry Doby and people who refused to sit in the back of the bus do not have iconic places in civil rights and US History.  Their contributions helped to advance the rights African-Americans have today. Yet, Iconic (ism) is critical in social movements as it is critical to changes in mindsets.  

Happy Birthday Rosa Parks.......

Your sacrifice and the sacrifices of others remains with us.

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