She wasn't very big. Her voice was soft and low. If she saw a television camera she would probably walk the other way. Yet this kind and gentle woman changed the face of history.
On a visit to Montgomery, Alabama to attend a seminar for professors at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the South the present writer visited the home of the freedom movement where Rosa Parks made history over half a century ago.
There were no police dogs or water canons in the streets. Dexter Avenue Baptist church was silent and the city buses were filled with blacks and whites riding together wherever seats were available.
However, that was not the case in December of 1955. No. At that time blacks were forbidden to ride in the front of the bus. Blacks were forced to give up their seats if a white person boarded the bus and wanted that seat. That was until the quiet lady from Montgomery, Alabama, decided to say no.
People who make history seldom start out that way. Rosa Parks was not trying to make history. She was just tired after a long day of working as a seamstress in a downtown department store. Having taught her story to over 5,000 students over a quarter of a century it never ceases to be amazing that such a small woman could create such a big movement. But it is the truth and Rosa Parks did .
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,was only 28 years old when the news of Rosa Parks flashed across his desk as pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. He did take on the awesome responsibility of leading the protest to address what happened to Rosa Parks. He eventually accepted the job and started a walk into history.
Why did Rosa Parks say no? The answer she gave was she was tired. King said he was tired too. "We are tired of being thrown out of the warmth of justice into the brutal cold of oppression," King said.
The worst fate is to be forgotten. Rosa Parks is remembered here not for how violent or loud she was; but for how quietly and gently she said no. The United States Postal Service is making certain that her service to her country will never be forgotten.
The Rosa Parks postage stamp can be purchased at the Petworth Post Office and post offices across the nation.