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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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Rosa Parks appealed to the US Supreme Court to abolish all segregationist laws,

and won. The Rosa Parks landmark case, although a sad indictment of this

country’s young and recent history, provides a lasting ray of hope that

positive change was, and maybe still is, possible.



Rosa Parks

4 February 1913 -24 October 2005

 A civilized society distinguishes itself by how fairly it treats its constituentsmb


Rosa Parks passed away on October 24, 2005. With her death, humanity has lost a formidable force in social reform, but her spirit lives on in her work and in those of us who identify with her capacity to transform one’s existence into an instrument of positive evolution. 

I was about 6 years old when I read about Rosa Parks in a Dutch newspaper. I was horrified to learn that there was a country in this world where people were treated with obvious contempt, for no other reason than the color of their skin. As a human being who was labeled a ‘black person,’ Rosa Parks had to give up her seat to another human being who was labeled a ‘white person.’

The notion was so totally incomprehensible to me, so ludicrous beyond grasp, and so intensely offensive to my sense of what humanity was until that day, that I vowed to never, ever go to this country. But less than 20 years later fate had me inexorably transplanted to the very same place that I had once denounced as horribly deficient in its socio-moral constitution. And I became a witness to the many civil rights violations and injustices committed by the US then and now.

Rosa Parks was known for starting the Civil Rights Movement by refusing to surrender her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. In this moment of deliberate transformation, she risked her life and well-being, but ultimately achieved her goal of ending segregation on public transportation. Moreover, Rosa Parks appealed to the US Supreme Court to abolish all segregationist laws, and won. The Rosa Parks landmark case, although a sad indictment of this country’s young and recent history, provides a lasting ray of hope that positive change was, and maybe still is, possible.

Just because a country considers itself ‘developed,’ does not mean that it in fact is. The US may pride itself on being democratic and protective, insisting on being the globe’s policeman, but its focus really is on money. And money provides the thin veneer that conceals the underlying decay. But money was also what helped Rosa Parks achieve her goal. Read more about Rosa Parks in an article written by Junious Ricardo Stanton [See Below].  

Slightly paraphrased by Stanton to fit current, egalitarian society, Sir Edmund Burke’s advise that “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good people do nothing” still rings true. Rosa Parks was a person who proved beyond a doubt that good people can defeat malice. And in her mission to end the depraved indifference toward the black community in Alabama, she also transcended the self-imposed restrictions of human existence. Dr. Abraham Maslow summarizes his concept of self-actualization as follows: “It refers to a [man]'s desire for fulfillment, namely to the tendency for [him] to become actually in what [he] is potentially: to become everything that one is capable of becoming." From Maslow’s perspective, Rosa Parks obviously lived a fully self-actualized life, until the ripe old age of 92. Her spirit will be remembered, and her beautiful soul will add its glory to the wonderful mystery of death. 

Rosa Parks wrote a book in 1994 called Quiet Strength in which she describes her courageous battle against oppression and ‘racism.’

Food for thought

What exactly is ‘racism’? Racism is a cockamamie word for a hideous concept that in all actuality has no basis in reality. Any member of a certain ‘race’ that is capable of producing viable offspring with any other member of that ‘race,’ belongs to the same race. Therefore, since all human beings can produce viable offspring with each other, they all belong to the same ‘race,’ namely the Human Race.

Therefore, it follows that there is no such thing as a ‘black race’ or a ‘white race’ or a ‘yellow race’ or whatever other color race. Stop using this ridiculous and misleading noun that was invented in the days of slavery to isolate a section of the population with the intent to oppress it.Marinza Bruineman, NYC Oct. 2005

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three haiku for rosa parks

                                   By Van G. Garrett


more than tired feet

weary from a long day’s work

ms. parks stood her ground



in a quiet way

rosa conducted business

that made the world think



a civilized fight

that continues to to progress

started on a bus

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Random Thoughts on Current Events
By Junious Ricardo Stanton

I find it ironic and symbolic that Queen Mother Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King who both were integral and catalytic players in a freedom struggle that forced their lives to intertwine as they attempted to reshape AmeriKKKan society and culture for the better made their transitions from this physical realm within months of each other. Their lives and destinies came together in Montgomery Alabama in 1955 and they continued to make a difference until the very end. Mrs. Rosa Parks became a venerated ancestor in October of 2005, Mrs. King made her transition two days ago.

During the tumultuous times they struggled to break the death-grip of state mandated racial caste, oppression and brutality, they were spied upon, targeted by local psychopaths and police. State and federal authorities were leery of them simply because they dared to challenge the centuries old entrenched, institutionalized and systemic white domination, genocide, forced subordination and oppression of Africans in AmeriKKKa. Mrs. Parks and King both exemplified uncompromising courage to withstand virulent and vicious white reactionism while working to ameliorate conditions for their/our people.

They passed within months of each other at a time when the psychopathic, racist and megalomaniacal mentality they battled in 1955 resurrected itself and is growing ever more pervasive in AmeriKKKa! These stalwart soldiers of human rights are no longer with us, yet the conditions of oppression, militarism and racial caste they fought so hard to eradicate, remain. Mother Parks and Mrs. King have gone on but we remain. What is the lesson in their loss for us other than the reality none of us is going to get out of here alive, we will all make our transition into the great initiation we call death? What is the message in this mess? Can we see beyond the veil of our awe of death and the sadness we may feel to realize, now is our time? Can we see this as our opportunity to make our mark on the world and leave it a better place like Mother Parks and Mrs. King attempted to do?

Our challenge remains and is no less then the ones they faced. The evils of global white supremacy, fascist militarism, imperial hubris/overreach still threaten the world, its ecosystems and humanity; what are we going to do? Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King refused to sit idly by on the sidelines of life consigned to roles as passive spectators. They refused to take it any more. They had the courage of their convictions, they found the inner strength to oppose concentrated and virulent evil. Each in her own way got passionately involved . Each one was committed and each one willingly paid the price. What are we going to do? How will we live Ma'at (Divine Order, Harmony, Equilibrium, Truth, Justice, Righteousness and Reciprocity) and make it a reality amidst the chaos, hatred, fear, deceit, malevolence and selfishness that permeates this culture and resonates into the world?

Perhaps the passing of Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King so close together may be signposts on the road of our lives and our struggle; reminding each of us it's time to step up and make a difference in the world, make a world of difference and make the world different!

8 February 2006

Source: assatashakur

posted 28 October 2005

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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Quiet Strength: The Faith, the Hope

and the Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation

By Rosa Parks

Parks, one of the U.S.' authentic living legends, is the black lady who on December 1, 1955, refused to surrender her bus seat to a white man, was arrested under the Jim Crow law that required blacks to make way for whites, and thereby launched the yearlong bus boycott by blacks in Birmingham, Alabama, which led to the national overturning of that city's and similar segregation laws across the nation. In this tiny collection of what seem like outtakes from oral-history tapes, she rehearses her great day (as it seems from the perspective of history; Parks remembers it as "not a happy experience. . . . I had not planned to be arrested"), stressing that it wasn't, as many have romanticized, because her feet were tired that she didn't move, but because she was "tired of being oppressed . . . just plain tired." Her remarks, disposed somewhat arbitrarily into sections topically named "Fear," "Pain," "Character," "Faith," "Values," reflect her lifelong commitment to justice for black Americans and to peace and equal opportunity for all.

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The Last Holiday: A Memoir

By Gil Scott Heron

Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered.

Gil uses Lennon's violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King's assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong.Jamie Byng, Guardian

 Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)  / Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  Gil Scott Heron Blue Collar  Remember Gil Scott- Heron

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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update 28 May 2012




Home    Civil Rights: Struggle for Black Power  DuBois Malcolm King

Related files: Cecil Elementary (poems on Rosa Parks)