Mrs. Parks Helped Change the World
Mrs. Rosa Parks who sparked a revolution that changed the world, died last night. A seamtress riding home on a bus in 1955 Montgomery refused to give up her seat to a white man because she was just too tired after work. That simple refusal sparked indignation and helped to change the South and for the better. The apartheid that existed back then is hard to imagine today.
Separate schools, separate drinking fountains, separate toilet facilities, being made to sit on the back of the bus, and Jim Crow laws that made such things possible are long gone.
Her action or rather non-action speaks of the quiet dignity of a people that had long been subjected to unfair treatment and at times murderous attacks. It is a shameful part of history especially here in Mississippi where the attacks were brutal.
Her refusal was so human and poignant that it still touches me today. It is easy to imagine someone being too tired to give up her seat and to be arrested for it was so injust that it sparked outrage. It gave a very human face to the absurdity of the Jim Crow laws.
The Civil Rights movement gained momentum by her courage and by the courage of the black students in Arkansas that were spat upon, called vile names, and taunted just because they wanted to go to school. These and other acts of courage on the part of blacks throughout the 50's and 60's gave a face to the victims of the evil that existed. For that is what the Jim Crow laws were, evil. That's what the murderous acts of the church bombings in Birmingham were, evil. That's what the murders of Edgar Mevers, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and the many others were, evil.
Why did I chose a word like evil which seemingly has little meaning in the world today?
Evil is a term describing that which is regarded as morally bad, intrinsically corrupt, wantonly destructive, inhumane, selfish, or wicked. In most cultures, the word is used to describe acts, thoughts, and ideas which are thought to (either directly or causally) bring about withering and death —the opposite of life.
For any society that seeks to suppress, repress, or pass laws that hold people back because of the color of their skin, their religion, or their gender is evil. Thank you Mrs. Parks for helping to rid the world of some of the evil that existed. May you rest in peace.
The Washington Post has a good article on this remarkable woman's life.