Respectfully yours, Rosa L. Parks
November 30, 2017 5:38 AM   Subscribe

Equal Justice [content warning: rape] - "More than a decade before Parks became a civil rights hero for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man, Parks led a national campaign against sexual assaults on black women." (previously)
posted by kliuless (6 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Ooh I'm excited for these. I love all the reminders that Parks was an activist and hero in her own right before she ever stepped on that bus and that there was nothing accidental about her decision that day, in part because that's a piece of her history that frequently gets erased. I'm gonna have fun with these!
posted by sciatrix at 5:46 AM on November 30, 2017 [12 favorites]

^^^^ Growing up in a middle class suburban environment (where "racism" didn't exist, even though we were all white) no one could explain to 10 year old me that she was an activist! To this day it has bothered me, and until I saw this FPP I could never put my finger on it. Thank you so much for this, and thanks sciatrix for putting my thoughts into clear words.

It is (I want to say weird, but obviously that isn't the right word) unsettling how deep and hidden racism runs, even among people who are well-meaning and trying their best (specifically me this time, but I imagine lots of other people are in a similar situation).
posted by Literaryhero at 5:54 AM on November 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

As I mentioned in the abuse/assault/harassment thread yesterday, I was surprised to just find out that 50+ years ago, when Representative John Conyers (now 88) entered Congress, he hired Rosa Parks to work (for the next 23 years) as a secretary in his office.
posted by LeLiLo at 5:57 AM on November 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

One of my favourite parts of Year 7 English is our mini unit on the Civil Rights movement. The students have to pick a topic to look up and prepare a short presentation. I love talking to students- especially girls- when they say "ugh, what/who do I pick from this list" and saying to them "hey, why don't you look up Rosa Parks and tell me about her." They are so excited to tell me what they've found out- their outrage at the injustice and their pride in her is so great to see. It's so fun being able to teach these kids about someone so bad-ass that they haven't heard of before.
posted by freethefeet at 4:32 PM on November 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've always greatly admired Rosa Parks, but have never known anything more of her life, other than what I encountered in school--that she was a secretary and a proud and brave woman who refused to sit in the back of the bus. For that, I felt she should be accounted an American hero; after reading this post, I think the history books ought to be amended to tell students that she was more than just some secretary, that she was a woman who fought ALL HER LIFE for her civil rights and for the right to respect.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:37 PM on November 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

For further reading: At the Dark End of the Street.
posted by soonertbone at 6:40 AM on December 4, 2017

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