Saturday, 12 February 2011

REFLECTIONS ~ Rosa Parks ~ "Sick and Tired of Jim Crow laws!"

(Taken from: University of Alberta Women's Law Forum 2009-2010
Lunch was ready.  I had the plates and cutlery in one hand, and the large bowl of macaroni, mixed with tuna and peas, in the other.  I called Alisdair and Isobel to come and eat, only I used the names Martin (as Alisdair and I have been studying Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement) and Rosa (as in Mrs. Parks).

Both kids came running and I gave Alisdair a plate.  You have to answer a question before I dish up your food, I said.  "Tell me something from one of the speeches Martin Luther King gave," I told him.

Instantly Alisdair began with the phrase, "I have a dream."  I smiled and piled the macaroni on his plate.

Next, I said, "And Rosa, what are you famous for?"

Of course Isobel didn't have a clue about the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 and 1956, so she quietly held her plate outstretched.  Alisdair came to her rescue with a loud whisper, "Say you refused to give up your seat, on a bus, to a white person."

"I refused to give up my seat on the bus to a white person," obediently chirped a small voice.

"And why did you do it?," I continued to prod.

The prompting continued, as well.  "Say you were sick and tired of the Jim Crow laws," instructed big brother.

Dutifully, little sister repeated his answer.

Giving a round of high fives, I joyfully exclaimed, "Hey, you really ARE learning something!"  I started dishing up Isobel's plate, even though it was hard to see, as I was getting a bit misty-eyed.

Thank you, Rosa and Martin ~ you've taught both by your example and by the place you have taken in American history.  Those who have followed are listening and learning about the changes for the better you both helped to bring about.

Rosa Parks, by Bill Farnsworth,
from the forthcoming Heroes for Civil Rights,
by David A. Adler.

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