December 1, 2009
Rosa Parks on desegregated bus.
On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white passenger as was required at the time.
Parks was a seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama at the time seemingly an ordinary citizen, but one that had finally had enough of segregation.
The bus driver had her arrested. She was tried and convicted of violating a local ordinance for her act of defiance.
Her brave act resulted in several crucial steps forward in the civil rights movement of the late 20th century:
- Blacks in Montgomery boycotted the bus system for over a year in protest.
- The boycott raised Martin Luther King, Jr. to national prominence. Previous to this he was virtually unknown.
- Resulted in Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation on city buses.
- For over 40 years she helped make Americans aware of the history of the civil rights struggle.
- She was eventually awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- Rosa Parks example of gentle resistance remains an inspiration to the w0rld.
August 28, 2008
Martin Luther King, Jr. giving his "Dream" speech. AFP-Getty Images
Forty-five years ago this very day, on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
Barack Obama was only two years old at the time. Little did anyone know that part of the “dream” would come true in such a relatively short time.
Tonight on the anniversary of King’s speech, Senator Barack Obama will stand in front of 80,000 people and millions of others watching on television and accept the nomination of the Democratic Party for President of the United States. A truly historic moment.
Whether you are support Obama or are a Republican, Democratic, or Independent, you should be proud of your country for the great strides that have been made.
In 1963 Mr. Obama would have been riding in the back of the bus, attending segregated schools, using “colored” only restrooms and drinking fountains, and being denied his most essential civil rights simply because he of the color of his skin.
Today he has a very real chance to attain the highest elected office in his country – President of the United States. Even if he fails his accomplishment has to be recognized as truly ground-breaking. Congratulations to the American electorate for having the courage and intelligence to see the man, not the color.