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Monday, 22 October 2012

Rosa Parks - My Story by Rosa Parks with Jim Haskins

review by Ro Bennett recorded for show on 25th Oct 2012 This was a very interesting and thought provoking book. It’s the autobiography of Rosa Parks who was born February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, USA. She was truly mixed race - of African, Cherokee-Creek and Scots-Irish ancestry, the daughter of a teacher and a carpenter. She was very small as a child as she suffered from poor health. She attended rural schools until the age of eleven, however she later dropped out of secondary education in order to care for her grandmother and later her mother, after they became ill. In 1932, Rosa married Raymond Parks, a barber from Montgomery. He was a member of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which at the time was collecting money to support the defence of a group of black men falsely accused of raping two white women. In December 1943, Parks became active in the Civil Rights Movement and joined the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. She was the only woman member. On December 1, 1955 Rosa was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, when she refused to obey the bus driver’s order that she give up her seat in the colored section of the bus to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation. Others had taken similar steps in the twentieth century, including Irene Morgan in 1946, however the organizers of NAACP, believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience. Parks' act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr, a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement. At the time, Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. She had recently attended the Highlander Folk School a Tennessee centre for training activists for workers' rights and racial equality. She acted as a private citizen "tired of giving in". Although widely honored in later years, she also suffered for her act; she was fired from her job as a seamstress in a local department store. Rosa Park died of natural causes at the age of 92 on October 2005. During her life she received many awards and medals in acknowledgement of her contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. This was an interesting and informative book. I was shocked and appalled by the extent of the injustice, ill treatment and disrespect shown to the black population at the time. It was a real eye opener, well worth reading.

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