Mike Cope's blog

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Why can we never remember the names of famous actors? It's resorted to this. We had a date night this weekend and went to a movie. Later when we tried to explain which one, we couldn't think of the name. All we could come up with was: "It's the one with Legolas and Spiderman's girlfriend." - - - - The "mother of the civil rights movement," Rosa Parks, has died. Her courageous decision almost half a century ago sparked a movement that was soon led by a Montgomery pastor named Martin Luther King, Jr. Here's the account in Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters: On December 1, 1955 . . . Rosa Parks left the Montgomery Fair department store late in the afternoon for her regular bus ride home. All thirty-six seats of the bus she boarded were soon filled, with twenty-two Negroes seated from the rear and fourteen whites from the front. Driver J. P. Blake, seeing a white man standing in the front of the bus, called out for the four passengers on the row just behind the whites to stand up and move to the back. Nothing happened. Blake finally had to get out of the driver's seat to speak more firmly to the four Negroes. "You better make it light on yourselves and let me have those seats," he said. At this, three of the Negroes moved to stand in the back of the bus, but Parks responded that she was not in the white section and didn't think she ought to move. She was in no-man's-land. Blake said that the white section was where he said it was, and he was telling Parks that she was in it. As he saw the law, the whole idea of no-man's-land was to give the driver some discretion to keep the races out of each other's way. He was doing just that. When Parks refused again, he advised her that the same city law that allowed him to regulate no-man's-land also gave him emergency police power to enforce the segregation codes. He would arrest Parks himself if he had to. Parks replied that he should do what he had to do; she was not moving. She spoke so softly that Blake would not have been able to hear her above the drone of normal bus noise. But the bus was silent. Blake notified Parks that she was officially under arrest. She should not move until he returned with the regular Montgomery police. At the station, officers booked, fingerprinted, and incarcerated Rosa Parks. It was not possible for her to think lightly of being arrested. Having crossed the line that in polite society divided Negroes from niggers, she had reason to expect not only stinging disgrace among her own people but the least civilized attentions of the whites. When she was allowed to call home, her mother's first response was to groan and ask, "Did they beat you?" Shortly after that King spoke to a packed house, anxious to hear what he'd say. He said, "Let us say that we are not here advocating violence. We have overcome that. The only weapon that we have in our hands this evening is the weapon of protest. If we were incarcerated behind the iron curtains of a communistic nation--we couldn't do this. If we were trapped in the dungeon of a totalitarian regime--we couldn't do this. But the great glory of American democracy is the right to protest for right. . . . We are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream!"

15 Comments:

  • Where are the brave, brave women and the eloquent men of the 1960's? We live in a time that yearns for someone to take a righteous stand against poverty, oppression and war in this country. When will we realize, in the words of an African proverb, “A poor man shames us all?” When will we take Isaiah’s vision to heart and be the first to beat our swords into plowshares? When will some one step forward and with real leadership – lead us to a better future?

    By Blogger J A Pierpont, at 10/25/2005 05:02:00 AM  

  • Thank you for your courage and conviction, Mrs. Parks. Thank you for inspiring other justice-seekers and for changing the way we all think about intolerance.

    By Blogger Mark Elrod, at 10/25/2005 05:26:00 AM  

  • I'm saddened by her death at this point in time. This year marks the 50th anniversary of her protest. The city (I live in Montgomery)has been gearing up for a month long remembrance of her courage. I wish she could have seen it.

    By Blogger Ed Harrell, at 10/25/2005 05:37:00 AM  

  • Mike, greetings from Germany. I have a couple of questions unrelated to todays blog. I thought your readers would be interested. What are your favorite online Bible resourses? Your favorite modern commentaries? I'm giving a Tres Dias talk this weekend on study and am compiling a list.(Tres Dias is almost just like the Walk to Emmaus) Thanks for your impute, Cuz

    By Blogger Kent Dickerson, at 10/25/2005 05:40:00 AM  

  • Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst a.k.a. Legolas and Spiderman's girlfriend.

    By Blogger Tammy M., at 10/25/2005 06:19:00 AM  

  • "We are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream!"

    Wow.

    By Blogger Brad, at 10/25/2005 06:21:00 AM  

  • So what did you think of Elizabethtown? My wife and I saw it last week and loved it. The music added so much.

    By Blogger Josh, at 10/25/2005 06:28:00 AM  

  • It seems like many of the eloquent and valiant men and women of the 60s lived in the world imagined in Sripture because there was no place for them in the real world. They found solidarity with Israel and hope in her story. Therefore, their language was bathed in Scripture. Imagine if we, the ones of privilege and power would join with them in the imagining the world through the eyes of the Scriptures.... How different the church might look.

    By Blogger Eric, at 10/25/2005 06:32:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Concerning movies, you might find the internet movie database of help. I use it all the time.

    imdb.com

    By Blogger Joel Maners, at 10/25/2005 06:36:00 AM  

  • Eric - Amen and Amen. How different our country would look as well.

    I saw Good Night and Good Luck - perhaps one of the best adult movies I have seen in a long time. Talk about standing against tyranny. Edward R Murrow looked it in the face and did not blink.

    By Blogger J A Pierpont, at 10/25/2005 07:25:00 AM  

  • In late August of 1955, 14-year old Emmitt Till was brutally murder in Money, Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Mamie Till, his mother, courageously defied authority and decided to show the whole world what had been done to her boy. She opened his casket for public viewing and allowed Jet magazine to publish photos of Emmitt's maimed, disfigured corpse.

    About 100 days later, Rosa Parks kept her seat in the front of that Montgomery bus. When asked later where she got the strength to do such a thing, she replied, "I thought about Emmitt Till and I just couldn't go back."

    Rosa's actions mobilized an entire community, and a young minister named Martin Luther King, Jr. emerged as the leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

    Courage begets courage. Thanks, Rosa (and Mamie, too) for showing us how it's done.

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 10/25/2005 07:32:00 AM  

  • Matt you're just like a modern day Paul Harvey! Thanks for telling us the rest of the story! :)

    By Blogger SG, at 10/25/2005 08:14:00 AM  

  • I want Rosa's courage too. What a woman!

    I loved Elizabethtown...it was very thought provoking. I even blogged about it today. Go see this movie!

    By Blogger Niki, at 10/25/2005 10:08:00 AM  

  • When you bloggers are ever in Montgomery Alabama, please take a visit to the Rosa Parks museum at Troy University. It is an experience for the entire family. A visit that will make an impression on every member of the family! That time in our country's history is such a shame. God help us all to always value life. Whatever age, size, color or shape.

    By Blogger Snapshot, at 10/25/2005 03:47:00 PM  

  • Our Country lost an amazing woman in the passing of Rosa Parks. She inspires me to take a stand (or keep my seat) for the sake of doing what is right.

    By Blogger Katie, at 10/26/2005 01:57:00 PM  

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