Tuesday, December 1, 2020

This Day, DECEMBER 1st, in History

December 1, 1955 - The birth of the modern American civil rights movement occurred as Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat to a white man and move to the back section of a municipal bus. Her arrest resulted in a year-long boycott of the city bus system by African Americans and led to legal actions ending racial segregation on municipal buses throughout the South.

The struggle to confront and make amends to a racist legacy continues to this day. Rosa Parks was one punctuation point on a long, continuous timeline.

To young’uns, born at a time of an African-American president, this seems like ancient history and yet they sense history’s long shadow in various ways even now. It’s impossible to understand today’s grievances without remembering and reminding what is, in historical context, a blatant disregard for the full humanity of others.

A much wiser person than me, who is also a renowned psychologist, put it this way: “Humans are hardwired to think in terms of ‘us’ and ‘not us’, with all the defensiveness this implies.” This served for self-preservation under threat and did, at times of great scarcity, have a function. But, I only hope, we are slowly evolving to override this and to understand that race and religion do not make anyone “not us.”

Remembering Rosa Parks today.


Vijaya said...

Her story and Rev. MLK's among others are so inspiring. When our kids were little in Redmond, WA, we got to see their new elementary school being built. They were the first batch of kids who attended and were so proud to have it named Rosa Parks Elem.

Janie Junebug said...

I wish we could say that all of the needs of the civil rights movement have been met. I salute the memories of the past and appreciate #BlackLivesMatter.


MirkaK said...

Rosa Parks is an incredible role model: to not let others dictate that you are a lesser being because of your skin color or ethnicity; to stand up for what are your inalienable human rights; to not let fear keep you at the back of any bus; to know that it is up to each of us to be part of the solution, not the problem. Thanks for highlighting a remarkable person.

Evelyn said...

Thank you, Mirka, for reminding us what an important role model Rosa Parks was. I think our country still has a long way to go in learning to treat others the way we'd like to be treated.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Such a good reminder of how our heroes can be people who quietly take stands, and that the efforts to make U.S. "a more perfect union" with justice for all is not over. More than ever it's urgent to make sure that everyone is meant by "we" and "us".