On Dec. 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Ala., an African American woman named Rosa Parks boarded a bus. Seated in the “colored” section of the bus, Parks was asked by the bus driver to give her seat up to a Caucasian male passenger, when the “white” section of the bus became filled. Unjust Segregation laws in Alabama, at the time, allowed racial separation on buses and other public venues. Consequently, on that day Parks said, “No,” and refused to give her seat up to that Caucasian man. No matter how many times I read, hear about, or view the footage of Parks being hauled off to jail, and booked for non-compliance to this law, I am still taken aback that human beings could really enforce laws and a system which buttressed such unconscionable, dehumanizing treatment of other human beings. How does a person, or race of people look in the mirror at themselves, and feel good about themselves, or even go to sleep at night by treating people in such a horrific manner? Perhaps there are many things in life that I will never be able to comprehend, and racism is one of them. Nonetheless, on this day during one of the darkest periods of time in American history, I have to say that I am so grateful, and thankful to God for the strength and courage of Rosa Parks. Her “no” led to a world of “yes,” and ignited a stream of bus boycotts, and momentum to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s the United States. One person can make a difference. Now 61 years later, I am so grateful for Rosa’s refusal, which has impacted so many lives for the good, and she will always be a heroine in my book.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-464-3862, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.