Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Spirit of Rosa Parks:
Freedom Isn't Free, But Its Value is Weighed Against Legends

When I first heard that Civil Rights pioneer Rosa Parks had died, my first instinct was to weep.

So I did.

So much has already been said about this petite woman, this tiny pillar of conviction and courage, that I find it difficult to find the words to express my gratitude for her leadership and her fortitude.

How does one write a fitting eulogy for a woman who helped a nation liberate itself from its prejudices? Simply by refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus 40 years ago this December, Parks helped summon the pallbearers for Jim Crow's funeral. How does one memorialize a legend?

One simply says thank you.

Thank you, Ms. Parks, for showing the world that the true beauty of the American Experiment lies in its everyday heros, the people that change the entire course of a society through simple acts of defiancy. Put enough of these acts together, and one has a social and cultural revolution.

Rosa Parks was an African-American in life, but in death she has transitioned into that parthenon of legends, full of folks with names like Lincoln, Jefferson, King, Roosevelt, Patton, Franklin, Truth, Chief Joseph, and Geronemo.

And that is a place where she rightfully belongs.

Thank you for your courage, ma'am.

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