Tuesday, 25 October 2005

Rosa Parks, RIP

Rosa Parks, the woman whose refusal to give up her seat sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped catalyze the civil rights movement, passed away yesterday at the age of 92; there’s more from the Montgomery Advertiser.


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.

I have great respect for Ms Parks. I wonder though how spontaneous was her bus seat adventure. I have seen pictures of her sitting on the bus, and being fingerprinted by the police after arrest (AP photos). Was the incident planned, and the press notified?


First, I hope DW isn’t suggesting that planning resistance somehow diminishes the heroic nature of the struggle. (gee our founders weren’t so awesome because they organized their resistance to the Brits…)

Second, yes, it was somewhat planned. she was a involved in the NAACP and it was thought she would be a good model because she didn’t have any “baggage” and made a more sympathetic figure. She probably didn’t get on the bus the morning of Dec. 1 after a “today’s the day” meeting. It WAS planned, but they were waiting for the perfect opportunity to present itself. Apparently it did on Dec. 1, 1955.

Let me reiterate…in my mind, planning the resistance does not diminish the heroism.

It is a damn shame, however, that Claudette Colvin’s name has been swept in the dustbin of history. Fifteen year old Claudette SPONTANEOUSLY (for those of you who think that matters) refused to give up her seat on March 2, 1955 (9 months before Ms. Parks).

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the “dream case” or “dream victim.” Not only had she also been charged with assaulting an officer when she was arrested (and many accounts DO support the evidence that she DID assault the officer’s foot repeatedly with her ribs), but she became pregnant over the summer (by a married man). Therefore, they organized so they would have a “better” victim than the REAL victim.

I understand the NCAAP‘s reason (a pregnant teen accused of assault would give fuel to the racists to pull attention from the horrible nature of the Jim Crow law in question), but I am sad that Ms. Colvin has become but a footnote.

I am working from memory here (too lazy to look it up), but I believe it was Colvin’s case that went to federal court and eventually prompted change. I think in the end that Ms. Parks case remained in the state courts.

[Permalink] 3. Terry wrote @ Thu, 3 Nov 2005, 6:12 pm CST:

Thank God for Rosa Parks. She rubbed America’s nose in what a hypocritical pile of dung it is and I am forever grateful. If America were ever even half the country it so loudly and obnoxiously claims to be then Mrs. Parks’ effort would have never been neccessary.

Comments are now closed on this post.