This year for Black History Month I’m going to highlight a different player in the steady march towards civil rights. These women were strong and steadfast in their belief in equality, and they still have plenty to teach us today. Regardless of how you feel about black history being relegated to a single month, this is important American history and we’d do well to keep these lessons in mind as we continue to fight for equality.
“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
4 February 1913 – 24 October 2005
Mrs. Parks was an African-American civil rights activist, whom the U.S. Congress called “the first lady of civil rights”, and “the mother of the freedom movement.” She’s most well known for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama on 1 December 1955. This act of civil defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols in the Civil Rights Movements.
After her many years of service to the cause of equality she received national recognition, including the NAACP’s 1979 Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and a posthumous statue in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. Upon her death in 2005, she was the first woman — and second non-U.S. government official — to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda.