Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Stateside: Rosa Lee Parks - The Power of Many

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

Rosa Lee Parks: The Power of Many

As I was trawling the Net looking for non-gaga information about the 92-year-old woman who will lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda today, I came across--then lost--a quote attributed to the lady herself regarding the state of affairs in Alabama at the time she refused to give up her seat on the bus.

In it, she talks about how black folks were required to pay their fare to the driver at the front door, then get back off the bus and go to the back door to board it. Sometimes the driver, having taken their fare, would drive off leaving passengers to wait for the next bus--or walk, if that fare was the last money they had.

If you think of the bus as a symbol of the nation's economy, is anything different in the U.S. today? The numbers of people--of all races--who are left standing at the kerb despite having paid their 40-hour, 50-hour, 60-hour way to the prosperity promised at every flick of the dial and on every roadside billboard grows by the minute.

Can there ever be another Rosa Parks, asked Betty Cuniberti, a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, on October 27. She speculated about whether someone like Cindy Sheehan might be that person, but decided:

"Those around her are not a humble, unknown 26-year-old minister but familiar divisive faces. In an information society gone wild, Sheehan has ceased to be an ordinary person and grieving mother, and become one more personality that dozens of highly compensated pundits can slam back and forth at each other like a tennis ball, partly for our amusement."

To which I say, "Exactly!" And so long as the focus is on one person, then the task of changing what is burdensome to many will fail.

The emphasis on what a single individual can do surely misses the point of what happened in Montgomery, Alabama, fifty years ago. Thousands of people boycotted the bus company, risking arrest for loitering as they stood on street corners waiting for someone to give them a ride to the jobs they desperately needed not to lose. And thousands of drivers risked arrest for picking up those folks.

The Rosa Lee Parks story is *not* about the power of one; it is about the power of many. But the President's homily will no doubt focus carefully and intentionally on the individual as he leads tomorrow's self-congratulatory back-patting by politicians--those very same politicians who repeatedly close the back door of the bus and drive off. If they even send the buses to begin with.

*************

rosalea.barker@gmail.com

--PEACE--


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news