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Rosa Parks’ Writings Show She was Far More Complex than You Think

Rosa Parks is the more famous woman known for not giving up her seat on a bus many years ago.  Her brave decision helped spark an important Civil Rights Movement that would change American history.  For the record, it was actually Claudette Colvin who was the first to not give up her seat, so she deserves just as much respect.

Parks has reflected on her experience in a series of writings and letters that are now at the Library of Congress.   The collection is now available for the first time and gives a view of the woman’s life that is quite interesting and complex.   The collection was purchased by Howard Buffett, who put it in the library.   This helped to free the collection from all of the legal fights between Parks’ various heirs.  Isn’t it interesting how most important black artifacts always leave the hands of black people?

“I think it’s one of the first times we’re actually able to read her voice, and it just totally goes against this image of the quiet seamstress,” said Margaret McAleer, an archivist at the library. “Her writings are phenomenally powerful.”

Parks, who died in 2005 at 92, is beloved in American history for her civil disobedience on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. That defining moment in 1955 triggered a yearlong bus boycott that helped dismantle a system of segregation.

“I had been pushed around all my life and felt at this moment that I couldn’t take it anymore,” she wrote. “When I asked the policeman why we had to be pushed around, he said he didn’t know. ‘The law is the law. You are under arrest.’ I didn’t resist.”

Parks also wrote of feeling lonely and lost living through the struggle with segregation.

 

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