Listen to the show: Choose the Game
Today on Venita’s View, I would like to acknowledge that today is the celebration of Martin Luther’s King Birthday. Martin Luther King, Jr. born Michael Luther King on January 15, 1929 was an American clergyman, activist, and African American prominent civil rights leader. At the age of 35, Martin Luther King was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize for the quest for Peace and Justice. When notified of his selection, he announced, that he would turn over the prize money of $54,000.00 to further the cause of the civil rights movement.
However, I would like to shine the light today on Rosa Parks. Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was born February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. Mrs. Parks was an African American civil rights activist whom the U. S. Congress later called, the first lady of civil rights and “the mother of the freedom movement.” On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks at the age of 42, refused to obey bus driver James Blake’s order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Parks’ action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Parks’ act of defiance became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement and Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. helping to launch him to national prominence in the civil rights movement. At the time of Mrs. Parks action she took in not giving up her seat on the bus that day on December 1, 1955, she was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the NAACP and had recently attended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee center for workers’ rights and racial equality.
Now many people believe that this act of defiance was about Rosa Parks being tired after a day at work at the Montgomery Fair department store complaining that her feet were hurting. She boarded the bus around six pm, paid her fare and sat in an empty seat in the first row of back seats for blacks in the “colored section” which was near the middle of the bus and directly behind the ten seats reserved for white passengers. By Parks’ account of what happened, Blake the bus driver asked the four black persons sitting in the row with Mrs. Parks to give up their seats because the ten seats reserved for the white persons had been filled, the three persons of color did stand up but Parks moved over to the window seat. When it was observed that Parks was still sitting, Blake the bus driver asked Parks if she was going to stand up, and Parks said no, I’m not. Blake said, if you do not stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested. Parks then said,” You may do that.” Now in the research I have done regarding Parks motivation in her action taken, Mrs. Parks provided the following in my readings. “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old although some people have an image of me as being old then. She was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was “tired of giving in.” Did you hear me, “tired of giving in.”
Now, how many times have we as women, given in? How many times have we given in to matters deemed very important to us but we gave in to simply not rock the boat? We have given in to keep peace or make peace knowing possibly that deep down that action possibly did not rest well within us. However, we as women are often conditioned to go along to get along. So on the anniversary of the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, as this Venita’s View segment provides history on the act of defiance by Rosa Parks, the first lady of the civil rights movement and the mother of the freedom movement, whose act of defiance more than was instrumental in the progression of the civil rights movement, I ask the question, What is or was or will be your Rosa Parks act of defiance?
Is there something going on in your life, and you are tired of giving in? What action will you take so that you no longer give in to the things that do not line up with your values and what you deem important for you? Let’s take the lessons learned from Rosa Parks as a shining example of a woman that said, I am tired of giving in. I am tired of being mistreated. I will not be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. This is my opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being mistreated in that manner. And in closing, is it not better for us to stand and live on our feet than die on our knees? And this has been Venita’s View on Monday, January 17, 2011. Best wishes to all on your journey of your act of defiance that will hopefully make a positive change for yourself and better yet, your community at large.
By Venita Garvin Valdez at www.VenitasViewOnLine.com