The article that Professor McKinney sent out about Rosa Parks contained a very interesting twist to Parks’ life story. She is known as the woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white man; and most opinions of Parks include descriptions such as, peaceful, quiet, and brave. However, in this article entitled, “It’s Time to Free Rosa Parks from the Bus,” the author, Danielle McGuire, attempts to change people’s perspectives of Parks. McGuire explains how there is so much to Parks’ life that many people do not know because she constantly is only ever associated with the “bus story.” Rosa Parks was far more than just a brave woman on a bus though and in McGuire’s opinion, neither peaceful nor quite are accurate descriptions of her.
McGuire mentions that there was a self-written story about Parks herself released last year. This narrative tells of how Parks stood up and defended herself against a white man who was going to try and rape her. The article states that she had decided, “If he wanted to kill me and rape my dead body…he was welcome, but he would have to kill me first.” This was just one of the examples where Parks was not a quiet and submissive victim who accepted whatever was came her way. Instead, she was a fighter, strong in her beliefs, who never allowed anyone to knock her down.
We discussed Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott during one of our previous classes. Professor McKinney talked about how Rosa Parks was not the first person to get arrested for not getting up from a bus seat when told to. In fact, there were several others before Parks, however Parks received the largest amount of attention because that is how the NAACP planned it. The NAACP was looking for someone to build a movement around and Rosa Parks was their answer. She was chosen due to the fact that she could give the impression that she embodied the method of nonviolence. Her identification became the older, well respected, calm and fearless citizen of the African American community. Although Parks did possess all of these qualities, she clearly had so many other great characteristics that many people don’t know about. This makes me wonder if the NAACP purposefully hid certain parts of Parks’ life from the media. I say this since it was just last year that her story came out about her powerful response to the white man who tried to rape her. In addition, I’m sure that many people have not heard the majority of Rosa Parks’ other stories and accounts retold by McGuire. So if people had known that Parks was not as quiet and submissive as suggested, would the NAACP have tried, once again, to a different face for the movement?