Monday, October 24, 2005

Rosa Parks Has Passed

It is hard to know what to say at a historic passing, such as that of Rosa Parks today at the age of 92.

Should I ruminate about what her name and her actions have meant to me and to other Black women of my generation? Should I tell the story of my mother, born and raised in Prattville and a participant as a young woman in the Montgomery Bus Boycott spawned in anger at Sister Parks' arrest, and her own adoration of Rosa Parks?

Or is it enough to give the moment of national silence that her passing seems to suggest is the only fitting tribute?

I'm finding that as I get older, there is this truth to be contended with: When our heroes and heroines die, part of us feels like it died with them. In the case of political heroines like Sister Parks, however, to succumb to that feeling is to dishonor their memory. In her case, from her early activity in the Montgomery civil rights movement, to her historical moment of truth on a bus, Rosa Parks never succumbed. She never gave in, all rules and battle fatigue notwithstanding.

Those of us still fighting the good fight for equality, albeit in a very different world than Rosa Parks faced, can never give up. We can never succumb, or give in, no matter how weary.

Rest in Peace, great Sister.


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