Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks, Civil Rights Pioneer


"We are saddened by the passing of Rosa Parks. We rejoice in her legacy, which will never die. In many ways, history is marked as before, and after, Rosa Parks," said civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.

"She sat down in order that we all might stand up, and the walls of segregation came down."

Parks was a 42-year-old seamstress for a Montgomery department store when she caught a bus in downtown Montgomery on December 1, 1955.

Three stops after she got on, a white man boarded and had to stand. To make room for him to sit alone, as the rules required, driver James Blake told Parks and three other black riders, "You all better make it light on yourselves and let me have those seats."

The other riders complied but Parks did not.

"No. I'm tired of being treated like a second-class citizen," she told Blake. Blake called police, who asked Parks why she didn't move: "I didn't think I should have to. I paid my fare like everybody else."

She paid her fare like everybody else. Take this as a metaphor, please - see if you can't try to make sure that you respect the rights of everyone else who's paid their fare. It will make the world a better place.

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