Good Night, Sweet Prince

In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

Last Monday, the world became just a little bit darker, and I am not talking about the short days of fall and winter. On that fateful day, Rosa Parks died in Detroit at the age of 92. Mrs. Parks, the “mother of the civil rights movement,” died from natural causes, surrounded by friends and family. She will be dearly missed, and I could not but take some time to commemorate her.

Her calculated act of defiance set off the Montgomery Bus boycott and the entire civil rights movement. A movement which took America to task for – in the words of the Dr. Martin Luther King – her defaulting on the promissory note of “the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.” Many people, including me, thought that her refusing to get up for a white man was out of physical fatigue. As I have come to learn more about her, I have realized that this is incorrect.

As I said, it was a calculated act of defiance, showing Mrs. Parks for the seasoned political activist she was, as opposed to a “colored seamstress with tired feet.” I personally owe Mrs. Parks a great deal. If it was not for her act of courage, I would not be where I am today. I would not have grown up in the town and neighborhood I did. I would not have gone to the schools I did. I would not have graduated from the medical school I did. I would not have trained at the hospital I did, and I would not be practicing in the town and county in which I currently do.

Yes, I owe Mrs. Parks – and all of the other brave citizens who stood up and said “enough is enough” – a great deal indeed. She was God’s gift to our country and our world, and it was through this seamstress in Montgomery that God worked to erase the horrible racial injustice that infected our great nation.

And there is more work to do. There is more injustice that must be erased. Racism is still a cancer that plagues our people. Let us all do what we can to help make our nation a place in where people will “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Let us take this moment to remember Mrs. Rosa Parks and what she meant to our country and our world. I truly wish I could go to Washington and personally pay my respects, but alas I can’t. Let this post be my remembrance, and may these words of honor and praise reach Ms. Parks all the way to the rotunda of the Capitol. May you rest in peace, Mrs. Parks, may you rest in the Lord’s peace. Amen.


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