Tuesday, October 25, 2005

And Then There Was HOPE

Military might in use or in threat by this country has brought us independence, and an end to slavery, Nazism, Facism, Soviet Communism and other evils.

While slavery was over for decades, the situation for blacks in this country as a whole, and in the south in particular, was highly oppressive more often than not. Most could not vote, not because they weren't "allowed" legally but because they were kept from registering by intentionally racist poll tests or other barriers. They had to put up with substandard segregated schools. Water fountains, restrooms and restaurants were labeled "whites only" in most of the south. And in Montgomery Alabama in 1955 blacks had to ride in the back of the bus.

Then along came Hope. A high school educated (only 7% were) married black seamstress in her early 40s refused to give up her seat to a white man. She was arrested. And the legend of Rosa Parks and the modern civil rights movement were born. It is hard for me to imagine a world where a man would actually ask a 42 year old woman to give up her seat on a bus and not be ridiculed, irrespective of the skin color of the people in question. I was born in 1967 and my father would still smack me for not giving up my seat on a bus to a 42 year old woman, black, white or otherwise. Rosa Parks couldn't understand the world she lived in either, or at least she couldn't tolerate it any more. Her bravery led young and old, black and white, Christian and Jew to march together and complain and resist. And southern blacks had something more important than nominal freedom. They had hope.

Their ancestors were born into slavery. Most of them had never voted and many had little to no education. They now had hope that their children or grandchildren would be equal in the nation of their birth and that of their parents and grandparents.

A majority of black people in this nation today have no ancestors that were ever slaves in this nation. Why? Because black people, just like white people, from all over the world today are willing and eager to come here knowing that, while not perfect and with little likeliness that this or any other nation will ever be perfect, they are equal and will be treated fairly here. Thank you Rosa Parks and all who heard her call in Montgomery and acted so that I am blessed not to understand the world she was born into.

Rosa Parks died last night in her Detroit home. She was a hero to millions 50 years ago. She should be a hero to all today, tomorrow and for all generations to come. God rest her soul. Let us all say a prayer and vow not let her bravery in the face of oppression be forgotten.

I also read this morning that Yaakov Kirschen of Dry Bones Blog in Israel and Omar of Iraq the Model have exchanged blog roll links. Maybe the blogosphere will help to bridge that racial divide so Arab and Israeli children will hope to see the day when they live in true peace as equals.


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