Dec. 1, 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of Rosa Parks and her historic bus ride in Alabama. It’s amazing that something so small as refusing to give up a bus seat is such a pivotal moment in black history. Parks’ actions begun a bus boycott that lasted for a year and changed the landscape of the civil rights fight.
Segregation wasn’t a choice back then, it was forced upon African-Americans. It’s sad that now even though we are “free,” we still segregate ourselves. The Civil Rights Movement changed Jim Crow laws, voting rights, and much more. It allowed African-Americans the opportunity to be equal. Unfortunately not everyone is taking that opportunity and making the most of it. (But that’s a whole ‘nother article)
Rosa Parks had been a member of the NAACP and a local seamstress before taking that historic ride. It wasn’t just a spur of the moment event, Parks’ actions were planned and coordinated.
Bus campaigning and rights activism had been going on for years, but after the victory in Brown v. The Board of Education the movement saw an opening, an opening that could incite change. NAACP organizers believed that Parks had the best chance at winning a case. Maybe it was because of her non-threatening appearance, or maybe it was because of her unfailing courage, I say it was both that made Parks the best candidate for the job.
Parks gained worldwide recognition for her bus ride which had its downsides. She was fired from her job and received death threats for years because of her actions. Parks said this in regards to not moving off the bus: “I thought of Emmett Till and I just couldn’t go back.”
Today, 60 years later civil rights is experiencing a rebirth following cases like Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray (which just started a few days ago).
I look at Laquan McDonald and I think we can’t go back. I see crazy videos that pop up on my timeline and I think we can’t go back.
I don’t know if things were always this bad, or if just nowadays technology is there to catch any aspect of racism. But, there needs to be a part of us that looks at the world in all aspects (not only race, but definitely that) and think ‘we can’t go back, there has to be something better.’
Rosa Parks died in 2005 at the age of 92, but Rosa Parks Day is celebrated Dec. 1 (state commemorated in California and Ohio). So, on the 60th anniversary of Rosa Parks, I hope everyone (black, white, asian, hispanic, etc..) can say ‘we can’t go back.’