Saturday, October 22, 2005

Rosa Parks: Feminist of the Day

Rosa Louise Parks
Civil rights activist, seamstress
"I want to be treated like a human being."

Yay for Rosa Parks, the most famous sitter ever. We can celebrate her turn to be feminist of the day without reservation.

I do have some reservations with the idea of Rosa Parks. The tired seamstress who didn't want to stand, so decided to sit. Rosa Parks had thought about ending Jim Crow laws, she had attended the Highlander Folk School. Refusing to stand wasn't that rare either, just a few months earlier another young woman had got arrested for the same 'crime', but she was single parent.

I do find it vaguely ridiculous that Rosa Parks is sometimes held up as an example of what an individual can do. It wasn't because she stayed seated, it was the reaction of black people in Montgomery, that means we've heard of Rosa Parks.

Conclusion: Like I've got a bad thing to say about Rosa Parks. You have to try really hard, and be evil, to find something bad to say about the catalyst for the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Update: Rosa Parks died October 25 2005, three days after I'd written about her as feminist of the day. She was 92.

I am really glad she lived a long life, that was hardly a forgone conclusion for a black baby born in the south in 1913.

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