Skip to comments.Rosa Park's legacy should not be compromised by civil rights leaders
Posted on 11/02/2005 8:18:10 PM PST by KevinNuPac
Rosa Park's legacy should not be compromised by civil rights leaders
By Kevin Fobbs
What Detroit and the nation saw with the funeral of civil rights legend Rosa Parks was not a celebration of her sainted effort to sit down for the freedom of generations to follow, but a marathon of speeches which were tied more to an agenda of liberal politics and causes than to the very simple, very heroic and very noble act which launched a civil rights revolution.
I was perplexed by the length as much as I was mystified by many of the messages which were affixed to this time, to this place and, for this purpose, the funeral as well as to the celebration of a civil rights legend, the mother and architect of the movement Rosa Parks.
Why do I say that? I, and I'm sure the nation, thought we would be turning in and viewing or listening to the celebration of the work this great women of history had launched. I thought the civil rights leaders of the nation who had gathered in Detroit along with President Clinton and dignitaries from every corner of the nation and of various political persuasions would share in the spirit of the humble but powerful spirit of this icon.
That effort, if it were the intent of the planners, was definitely compromised.
As thousands gathered outside waiting to join and be a part of the purpose of this historic moment and pay their final respects to this modern day warrior of faith, they had to begin to wonder would this ceremony be more focused on her accomplishments and legacy or on old civil rights leaders who are grasping for relevancy in the 21st century and using separatist and political partisanship which divided the listeners and viewers of this event?
Former president Bill Clinton kept to the script it seemed. He was concise by his own standards and he made a plea for understanding that actually reached across all lines and barriers in search of the unifying theme of freedom which resonates with all Americans who care.
On the other hand much of the multi-hour event appeared more to focus on whatever the political theme that the speaker wanted to convey rather than on a unifying message. You almost had to wonder just what this quiet women of courage would have done if she knew this homecoming would not be simple, short, respectful or unifying. The issues of the past 50 years were somehow interwoven with political agendas that were not unifying in the least. If some of these themes were meant to resonate today with those in attendance, then it was surely a message meant for a select audience of non-conservatives and non-Republicans.
If you were to listen to the marathon of speakers many eloquent, some divisive with their own political agendas, you had to wonder which America were they speaking to. Was this a warm up for the liberals who had lost the general election for the presidency last year?
I thought it would be fitting to share with the thousands who were assembled and the millions who listened and viewed around the nation that this civil rights movement which Rosa Parks helped launch was not a Democrat-only effort. It would have been relevant to speak of the unifying effort that leaders and people of faith; young and old; men, women and children from all walks of life did in helping to build upon the momentum of this movement.
It would have been relevant to speak of the efforts that Republican leaders in Congress took to galvanize their colleagues to support civil rights legislation that became law in the areas of education, voting and housing. But perhaps that was asking for too much to acknowledge those Republican leaders who joined in to break the shackles of legalized segregation, halt the practice of using poll taxes and Jim Crow law, and restore the precepts of the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution that all people are born equal.
That a 42-year-old black seamstress sat down and literally carried the weight of the black people of this nation on her shoulders was a trademark of faith that all people of conscience in this nation might have been touched by her quiet act of courage. When she turned to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for help, she did not say, but "don't talk to those Republicans." She reached out in faith. A faith that a caring and compassionate nation of Americans would follow and the courts, the media and the citizens of the Heartland would stand up and walk, march, finance, pass legislation and pray for an end to segregation and unify a nation as one...that...sadly did not happen in Detroit today at her funeral.
What I thought I would hear from some of the appointed black civil rights leaders is what they would do to continue to fight for educational freedom for Detroit students 10,000 of which drop out of the public school system every year...never to return.
I thought that the leaders would take up the call for an end to the paralyzing illiteracy that is shackling a generation of Detroit's residents and their children in Rosa Parks' adopted city. But the nation and we who watched, who listened, did not receive that message. The question you have to ask is why?
Why would the leaders of the civil rights establishment in Detroit and the nation sidestep a picture perfect opportunity to not only bring home the message that the legacy of educational freedom that Mrs. Parks and tens of thousands of civil rights marched activists sacrificed their bodies and for some like Viola Liuzzo, a white mother from Detroit their lives did not march and die as Democrats or Republicans. The nobler act of unity was left on the cutting room floor with the other remnants of "we-could-have, should-have, may-have...but-just-didn't."
What message did this missed opportunity send the nation? Did it perhaps bring to the forefront the notion that perhaps it is deadly ironic that Rosa Parks after helping to launch a movement with her act of civil disobedience in Montgomery, Alabama, a segregated city in the segregated south came north to die in a city and a region that is the most segregated in the nation?
That fact should be telling to the self-anointed leaders. Black church leaders like Rev. Charles Adams wanted to speak about affirmative action being on the ballot next year in Michigan. But what about a little affirmative action in protecting the life of the unborn and ending the practice that has cost the lives of 12 million black babies since the Supreme Court came down with its Roe v. Wade decision? This was the perfect opportunity to say to the people of faith in this nation that the legacy of Rosa Parks is not a political agenda to be bandied about by Democrats and liberals. It is rather one of saving a race by preserving a race.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would not have been proud of what he saw today. He would say that these so-called leaders have abandoned their faith. He would say that these leaders have walked away from their God-given responsibility to stand for the principles that this mild-mannered seamstress brought to him in December of 1955. These principles are as clear as the decision that flowed from the pages of the Brown v. The Board of Education in 1954. The focus of these speakers should have been mindful of the past and deadly serious about the future a future that should insure that children will grow up in a family where there are two parents. A future where children can walk to school and not be victim to high numbers of black-on-black crime and to murder while all fingers point outward in terms of responsibility.
There is some hope in what did occur during this national and international day of mourning in the city of Detroit. There were many students and their teachers as well as family members in the homes across Detroit, the state and the nation who did the right thing and that is to focus on the lessons that this heroic woman gave us. Our nation is a nation of faith. Our nation is built upon the ideals that there are certain principles that are above politics. There are certain edicts that transcend color and ethnicity.
Rosa Parks sat down in Montgomery 50 years ago because justice in this nation must be colorblind. Freedom cannot be held hostage to a political agenda or to an archaic notion that it is correct to attack, to minimize, to marginalize, to foster hate because it is politically convenient or it can be used for sheer economic advantage. Rosa Parks would not have wanted it, and we as a nation must never surrender to it.
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best in his I Have A Dream speech in 1963, when he said "I still have a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream that all people are created equal and endowed by their creator with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Detroit and the nation must wake up each morning to a country that has transcended racial politics and the politicians who practice this heresy to Rosa Parks' legacy.
We must restore her legacy and Rev. Martin Luther King's Jr's Dream by building a nation that tears down the walls of racial divide and repairs the broken bridge which leads to a colorblind pathway for all Americans.
Kevin Fobbs is President of National Urban Policy Action Council (NuPac), a non-partisan civic and citizen-action organization that focuses on taking the politics out of policy to secure urban America's future one neighborhood, one city, and one person at a time. View NuPac on the web at www.nupac.info. Kevin Fobbs is a regular contributing columnist for the Detroit News. He is also the daily host of The Kevin Fobbs Show on News Talk WDTK - 1400 AM in Detroit. Listen to The Kevin Fobbs Show online at www.wdtkam.com daily 2-3 p.m., and call in toll-free nationwide to make your opinion count at 800-923-WDTK(9385)
© Copyright 2005 by Kevin Fobbs http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/fobbs/051102
Notice how so many write of this while ignoring that RATS passed the laws that she rebelled against??
Anyone catch Bill Clinton's whopper today? He told a story of how he rode at the front of a segregated school bus at the age of nine. He said that faithful day when Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of the bus, he decided that he would no longer sit at the front of the segregated school bus.
I guess Clinton forgot that schools and school buses were not segregated, but were either all-black or all-white. There would not be a school bus that would pick up black and white kids at the same time, only to drop them off at different schools. You would either get on the black school bus or the white school bus. In essence, Clinton lied.
My senator already got a head start.
They are not civil rights leaders, but race baiters.
It's like a reflex, like they're trigger-happy to lie.
The best speaker was a 94 year old lady that spoke without a script. She was a longtime friend of Parks.
I posted this to the MI state board a few minutes ago:
There was a lot of great moments at the funeral today but it didn't reflect the big picture of Rosa Parks' history.
It did not become "Wellstone" but bordered on it. Too many 'Jenny Grandstanders' speakers that had nothing to with historical progress but in fact impeded it.
Did you see KKK Byrd there?
Although a noble courageous American was laid to rest today it did reflect exploitations by those trying to capitalize on the passing of someone that these slugs (Jesse Jackson for example) will never be.
The Jenny Grandstanders (to be fair was only one of many) do not represent Ms. Parks' struggle as these same libs only perpetuate today the socialist evils they purport which are in direct conflict that causes Parks' legacy to be left incomplete.
The funeral was modern day leftist-laden and that hardly reflects the fight for individual freedom and independence that makes Rosa the icon she is and will always be.
At least through my rose colored glasses.
clintin lied? Wow.. I'm shocked.
I never saw anybody milk a dead horse (I like to mix metaphors) so long as the MSM and my local Detroit paper The "Detroit" (it's not - it's Gannett) "Free" (it's not - it's a leftist/union rag) "Press" (it's not news, it's propaganda) as this Rosa Parks funeral thing. They are wringing every last bit of politicobrainwash out of it until there's nothing left. (is that a pun?)
The headline has gone on about this for days and days. I guess that way they don't have to deal with the news that we are winning in Iraq, because they can't stand that.
it was too late LONG before she was dead.
it was already too late when she had to take the rap singers to court to protect her image from the race baiters.
a sad epitaph.
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