25 October 2005

Rosa Parks dead

I was told last night that Rosa Parks, the mother of modern civil rights movement in America, died at age 92.

She did not try to be a hero by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man in 1956. She was just tired and in a foul mood. Nevertheless, her civil disobedience was enough of a spark to ignite the frustration of a century of segregation, and turn it into a massive movement that resulted in equal voting rights and the end of segregation. The civil rights movement, spearheaded by Reverend Martin Luther King, benefited not only blacks, but other nonwhites, and down the road, women and gays as well. In today's American society, no sane person will get away with the kind of blatant display of racism that used to be so common back in 1956.

America finds itself back at a time when the basic civil rights are being trampled upon, and it is worth remembering Parks' action and its impact, so that the massive voter disenfranchisement that happened in places like Florida and Ohio will not happen again. Pressure needs to continue on Congress to keep passing new civil rights bills, including the Equal Rights Amendment for women, that will further strengthen the promise of equality in the society. (It would also help to put an end to unequal hate bills like the Marriage Amendment once and for all.) And it's perhaps a good idea to put "equality" back into the Pledge of Allegiance, instead of reciting the 1950s Catholic prayer that it is now.

MSNBC Article