Sunday, October 30, 2005

Remember the real Rosa

Perhaps like me you were taught that Rosa Parks, dead this week at age 92, was a humble and downtrodden Southern seamstress who unintentionally sparked the entire civil rights movement through the unconscious protest of her tired ole feet after a hard day's work.

This is the myth that whites everywhere seem to be deeply invested in: that the avatar of civil rights herself had no clue to what she was doing; that she was merely a noble victim who didn't know any better, and had nothing more in mind when she started the last great American revolution than relieving the pain in her aching feet. This is a fiction fed by white liberal fear and anxiety and must be corrected.

Let us not let the Rosa Parks myth swallow her whole. I want all of my loyal readers to remember that Rosa herself had been an NAACP leader and civil rights organizer for over a decade on the day of her historic arrest, she did NOT believe in non-violence, and kept guns in her home for self-defense.

I heard this morning on a radio talk show that in later life Ms. Parks became a Black nationalist and a fan and follower of Malcolm X.

So lets get rid of this image of an ignorant, humble, meek and mild, tired old seamstress who had just had enough. Rosa was a true lion, a true fighter on the side of justice, and every bit a self-determining individual with her own personal power.

Here's to the real Rosa Parks and to everyone with the courage to fight the power. The world is diminished without her and today I am sad to see her pass on.

Let's all of us, everywhere, raise our muzzles in a twenty-one gun salute to this American hero.

And it wouldn't hurt to aim in the direction of Washington, D.C. when we do.

1 comment:

Askinstoo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.