Thursday, October 27, 2005
Listening to Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks, 1913-2005, civil rights hero and catalyst for the Mongomery Bus Boycott, died Monday at age 92. I began my day listening to an archived interview with Rosa Parks from 1956. You can find a link to the recording here.
In the interview Ms. Parks says in a clear, soft voice, "The time had just come when I had been pushed as far as I could stand to be pushed, I suppose. They placed me under arrest. And I wasn't afraid. I don't know why I wasn't, but I didn't feel afraid. I had decided that I would have to know once and for all what rights I had as a human being and a citizen, even in Montgomery, Alabama."
A rousing gospel version of This Little Light of Mine concludes the interview. A black gospel choir singing "Jesus gave me the light, I'm gonna let it shine..." is blaring from my speakers right now. :-)
Isn't it interesting to think about just how many ways the "light" can shine? One of my favorite contemporary choruses is "Shine Jesus Shine." "Lord the light of your love is shining, in the midst of the darkness shining...Jesus, light of the world, shine upon us, set us free by the truth you now bring us..."
Rosa Parks had, according to those who knew her, "deep religious conviction." Perhaps it was her faith, the "light of Jesus," that gave this woman and many other people the strength to stand in a turbulent and violent time.
I am a person who tends to try to find the middle ground, to discover consensus, to compromise for the sake of peace. When I can't do so without being untrue to my convictions -- well, then it is time to stand. In Rosa Parks case it was time to sit. I'm not being flippant. I'm just pondering the nature of...finally having enough and refusing to budge.
More later...busy day ahead.