In the front seat on the bus to heaven

Rosa Parks died yesterday of natural causes. As everyone knows, she was one of the most influential and accidental icons of the United States Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. As she herself has told others, she never meant to actually stand up for civil rights. She had just finished a very long and tiring day of work and simply took a seat near the front of the bus in order to just sit down. As nearly all American school children know, in those days if a white person asked a black person to get out of a seat near the front, they were required to do so. Just like you or I don’t think straight when we’re tired, she actually refused to move on account of being tired. There were, after all, other seats the white person could have taken. The end result? She was arrested and Martin Luther King Jr began the bus strike. Since so many blacks used the busses, their strike was devastating to the bus’ source of income. They caved and eventually blacks and whites could sit anywhere on the bus. Her actions contributed in a large way to the fame of MLK Jr and gave a large boost to the Civil Rights movement.

She made the news again thirty years later when Outkast made a song called “Rosa Parks”. It made vague references to her struggle with the busses, but was mostly just a club song which she found a tad bit vulgar. She asked them to change the name of the song, but it remained.

Rosa, thanks for all you did to change society. Change isn’t always the result of meticulous planning and thanks to you, the US is more tolerant of all races.

Author: Eric Mesa

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