If there was ever a need for it, it’s now.
She knew opposition and persecution from the day she was born in Tuskegee, Ala., on Feb. 4, 1913. Her parents—a carpenter and school teacher — were poor, but tried to take care of her and her brother the best they could. And, when her parents split up, the three of them went to live with her maternal grandparents.
By 6, Rosa Louise McCauley witnessed firsthand the dark depravity of man when the Ku Klux Klan became active again and began lynching a number of Negroes and burning their houses. Even while going home from school in the afternoons, she had to endure white children’s racist remarks and rock-throwing.
But, as she would later write, it was her Faith that sustained her during those dark days. After marrying at age 18, she worked at various jobs sewing, ironing and steam pressing clothes.
One day — on Dec. 1, 1955 — after a long day at work, she boarded one of the public buses and sat down over halfway back behind the overhanging sign that said “Colored.” Three other African-Americans sat next to her.
Soon, the bus was packed and a tall, white man boarded. The bus driver, James Blake, who’d had a run-in with the now-married Rosa Parks some 12 years earlier, came back to the four and told them to move since they couldn’t sit on the same seat with a white person.
Three of them complied. But, Rosa didn’t.
Instead, she slid over to the window and quietly continued looking outside. Blake barked his command once more to her. But, still she refused to move.
A few minutes later she was arrested and thrown in jail. But, a few weeks later she and 30,000 Negroes in Montgomery began boycotting the buses. For 381 days they refused to ride. But, thankfully 18 cab companies owned by blacks gave them rides for the bus fare. Several other churches even bought station wagons to help transport the boycotters to their respective destinations.
Needless to say, this outraged the city leadership. They enacted an old, outdated law that forbade boycotts. They passed a city ordinance that charged those waiting for rides with being public nuisances. White-owned insurance companies cancelled policies on their cabs and station wagons.
But, the boycott continued. Finally, on Nov. 13, 1956, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for public transportation to segregate riders. And, this helped fuel the fires of the civil rights’ movement under Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Later on Mrs. Parks would participate in the historic civil rights march in Washington, D.C. in 1963. She also walked the 50 miles between Selma and Montgomery, Ala., with 3,000 others, which included MLK Jr., Ralph Abernathy and Harry Belafonte.
In 1990 she got to meet Nelson Mandela and in 1994 won the Nobel Peace Prize. Likewise in 1996 she won the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was named “one of 24 most influential and iconic figures of the 20th century” by Time Magazine.
When she died on Oct. 24, 2005, her coffin laid in honor in the Capitol rotunda—the first woman ever and only the second African American to be granted that honor. And, later on President Bush ordered a statue of her to be put on permanent display in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall.
It goes without saying that God greatly used Rosa Parks to impact our nation’s laws and history. She, along with so many other courageous men and women during our nation’s 241-year history, are commended for their various heroic acts.
Even though we may never find our names in one of America’s history books, we still can make a difference by standing firm on the bedrock beliefs that made us great. We, like Rosa Parks, must simply be courageous to do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do—regardless of the cost.
That way we’ll have no regrets when our time here on earth is through. To the Lord God Almighty be all the Glory. Hope you’ll have a great Fourth of July celebration. God bless you.
NOTE: If you’d like to contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” you can write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.