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Tue Dec 1, 2015, 09:55 AM

Sixty years ago today, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala.

Last edited Tue Dec 1, 2015, 04:17 PM - Edit history (1)

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How history got the Rosa Parks story wrong

The quiet seamstress we want on our $10 bill was a radical active in the Black Power movement.

By Jeanne Theoharis December 1 at 7:00 AM

Sixty years ago, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala. Her courageous act is now American legend. She is a staple of elementary school curricula and was the second-most popular historical figure named by American students in a survey. When Republican presidential contenders were asked to pick a woman they wanted pictured on the $10 bill, the largest number of votes went to Parks.

Americans are convinced they know this Civil Rights hero. In textbooks and documentaries, she is the " target="_blank">meek seamstress gazing quietly out of a bus window — a symbol of progress and how far we’ve come. When she died in 2005, the word “quiet” was used in most of her obituaries and eulogies. We have grown comfortable with the Parks who is often seen but rarely heard.

That image of Parks has stripped her of political substance. Her “life history of being rebellious,” as she put it, comes through decisively in the recently opened Rosa Parks Collection at the Library of Congress. It features previously unseen personal writings, letters, speech notes, financial and medical records, political documents, and decades of photographs. ... There, we see a lifelong activist who had been challenging white supremacy for decades before she became the famous catalyst for the Montgomery bus boycott. We see a woman who, from her youth, didn’t hesitate to indict the system of oppression around her. As she wrote, “I talked and talked of everything I know about the white man’s inhuman treatment of the negro.”

Parks was a seasoned freedom fighter who had grown up in a family that supported Marcus Garvey and who married an activist for the Scottsboro boys. She joined the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP in 1943, becoming branch secretary. She spent the next decade pushing for voter registration, seeking justice for black victims of white brutality and sexual violence, supporting wrongfully accused black men, and pressing for desegregation of schools and public spaces. Committed to both the power of organized nonviolent direct action and the moral right of self defense, she called Malcolm X her personal hero.

5 myths about Parks and the bus seat

The girl who refused to give up her seat 9 months before Parks

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Reply Sixty years ago today, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala. (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Dec 2015 OP
hollysmom Dec 2015 #1

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Dec 1, 2015, 10:07 AM

1. she was an amazing women a lot of women are (and men), but most people just

see what is on the surface of all people, Judging a book by its cover. She is certainly worth more than a few sentences in a history book. I wasn't aware they had a collection of so much stuff. I grew up knowing a generation before me did not have the education chances I had and appreciated how smart people were doing jobs that others would look down upon. Not that seamstress does not require special skills, just unappreciated ones.

And now the republicans are trying to change her into some cartoon republican hero, ignoring all that she was.

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