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    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    A Great Lady -- Rosa Parks

    I woke up this morning to the news that Rosa Parks, "mother of the Civil Rights movement," passed away from natural causes last night at the age of 92.

    Growing up in Houston, Texas, and my best friend being African-american, I feel my life has benefitted every day from the efforts of those during the civil rights era. Last year I wrote a paper in college where I interviewed my friend, Dennis, and his parents about their recollections of growing up during the 1950s-1970s and how the civil war/reconstruction/civil rights are remembered today. It was an immensely edifying experience.

    I can never empathize with those who grew up under state-sanctioned racism, those who had to eat out the back door of a restaurant while their neighbors went in the front, those who were denied studying at college because of the color of their skin.

    Even knowing the intimate relationships between vietnamese and americans has not given me the experiences they had. Dennis' father went to college in Nebraska, and tried hard to ask out a very pretty girl in his class. One day he finally succeeded, only to have her tell him she had turned him down so many times because her friends kept saying "You're not really going to go out with that n----- are you?" It was the only date they went on.

    Today, as I think about Rosa Parks and all the others who helped pave the way for equality in America, I give thanks. I am thankful for all those who stood up for what they knew was right although the law didn't say it. I'm thankful for those people who endured prejudice in order to succeed in life and raise a new generation outside those bonds. They are a beacon of faith to me. And I give thanks to a small woman who decided one day not to move to the back of the bus. Every day of my life is a little bit sunnier, a little less gray, because of it.

    rosa_parks_4Rosa Parks' mugshot.

    rosa_parks_bustRosa being booked.

    rosa_parksRosa Parks, an American heroine.

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