DOZ Issue 31 May 2018 - Page 13

DOZ Leadership Lessons Rosa Parks Eturuvie Erebor R osa Parks is famous for refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. Her action helped ignite the civil rights movement and of course, changed the United States of America. It also brought her into the limelight. She was born Rosa McCauley on the 4th of February 1913 and died in October 2005 at the age of 92 years. Rosa grew up at a time when white children rode the bus to school, and black children walked. And as if it wasn’t bad enough, as the buses went by, the white children would hurl their rubbish at the black children. In her day, if you tried to defend yourself as a black person or stand up for yourself against a white person, you could be lynched. So, you can appreciate that refusing to give up her seat took a lot of courage. Rosa would later marry Raymond Parks who was an activist and a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. Together with her husband, Rosa fought against the segregation of blacks. Then came the fateful day in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. She was arrested, but it led to blacks boycotting the buses for 381 days, and eventually, blacks were able to get their own buses, and black drivers were employed to drive buses on the black routes. Rosa became so famous that the United States Congress referred to her as “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.” Her birthday, February 4th, and the day she was arrested, December 1st, have both become known as the Rosa Parks Day. In 1990, Nelson Mandela asked to meet with her during his first visit to the United States of America following his release from prison after 27 years. Pope John Paul met with her in 1999 and blessed her in recognition of her Christian contribution to humanity. DOZ Magazine May 2018 13 «