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The views and opinions expressed on this site and blog posts (excluding comments on blog posts left by others) are entirely my own and do not represent those of any employer or organization with whom I am currently or previously have been associated.

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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

October 25, 2005

Written by C.N.

Rosa Parks

As virtually all news organizations such as CBS News are reporting, Rosa Parks passed away last night at the age of 92. I’m sure you know that Rosa Parks became an iconic figure of the Civil Rights Movement when she refused to give up her seat to a White man in Montgomery, Alabama on December 1, 1955. Picture of Rosa Parks in 1999 © Associated Press

Her courage, bravery, and determination to stand up for herself and her community eventually led to the monumental Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-1956 and was one of the first major acts of defiance and public disobedience of the Civil Rights Movement. As Jesse Jackson eloquently commented:

We are saddened by the passing of Rosa Parks. We rejoice in her legacy, which will never die. In many ways, history is marked as before, and after, Rosa Parks. She sat down in order that we all might stand up, and the walls of segregation came down. Paradoxically, her imprisonment opened the doors to our long journey to freedom. These three giants, Rosa Parks, Dr. King and Mandela – without bombs, bullets or wealth – have shown the awesome power of right over might in history’s long journey toward peace and freedom.

Ms. Parks was one of the first people I considered to be a role model and true pioneer of strength and social justice. She is not only a personal inspiration to me but I think the entire Asian American population owes her (and others of course) a debt of gratitude and reverence. She showed that the actions of one person can have far-ranging consequences for an entire country.

Not only that, but she also showed that a woman can be just as courageous and determined to fight for the dignity of herself and her community just as much as men. In a time when women were routinely considered subordinate and inferior to men, Ms. Parks fought and contributed to two separate wars — one for racial/ethnic justice and equality and one for gender equality.

She is truly one of the most remarkable figures of American history — a humble but incredibly powerful inspiration to millions of people today, and into the future. Thank you Ms. Parks, and may you rest in peace.


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Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Rosa Parks" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/10/rosa-parks/> ().

Short URL: http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/?p=155