f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

October 25, 2005

thank you, Rosa Parks

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 7:41 pm

The media are filled with tributes to Rosa Parks, as we mourn

her death yesterday at the age of 92. (see NYT article).  Nearly

50 years ago — or, more to the point, only 50 years ago — she

was a catalyst for the civil rights movement and the fight for

true equality by Blacks in America.  Her courage came in the

simple refusal to give up her seat on a bus to a white man and

thus continue to accept second-class citizenship in Montgomery,



RParks  orig./Higgins/NYT


I was 5 years old when Mrs. Parks took her stand, and I can’t

remember the actual event.  However, its repercussions were

felt and seen in our news media — and on the new tv that came

into my childhood home — as I was growing up.  For those who

wonder why many Blacks still feel that they are considered to be

less than fully-equal by many of their fellow Americans, here is

an example of the treatment they received less than 50 years ago,

when they tried to use public transportation to get to and from

work or school (from today’s NYT): 

“On Montgomery buses, the first four rows were reserved

for whites. The rear was for blacks, who made up more

than 75 percent of the bus system’s riders. Blacks could

sit in the middle rows until those seats were needed by

whites. Then the blacks had to move to seats in the rear,

stand or, if there was no room, leave the bus. Even getting

on the bus presented hurdles: If whites were already sitting

in the front, blacks could board to pay the fare but then they

had to disembark and re-enter through the rear door.”

Mrs. Parks’ arrest led to a boycott of bus by the City’s black popu-  not equal black

lation.  As the New York Times explains:

“Finally, on Nov. 13, 1956, in Browder v. Gayle [352 US 903],

the Supreme Court outlawed segregation on buses. The court

order arrived in Montgomery on Dec. 20; the boycott ended the

next day. But the violence escalated: snipers fired into buses

as well as Dr. [Martin Luther] King’s home, and bombs were

tossed into churches and into the homes of ministers.”

At a time when so many Americans know so little of our history; when

we call people “heroes” for simply doing their jobs or for accepting respon-

sibilities that should be expected of every person in our society; and when

young Americans (including those with law degrees), choose their own

financial or social interests over taking the right or ethical course of action

(thanks to the example or indifference of their elders, I must note), I want

to thank Rosa Parks for her courage and dignity.




Moonlight spills through clouds…

a new tombstone

scattered with wilted flowers


window neg



Cold tea in cups—
sweaters draped over chairs
in the garden pagoda






Autumn evening–

yellow leaves cover

the plot reserved for me




“Moonlight spills” & “Autumn evening” – Shadwell Hills 

“cold tea” – Modern Haiku (Spring 2004)



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