Retelling the story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott (Paul Schmitz)

At the recent Connecting Communities conference, one of the highlights was Paul Schmitz retelling the story of Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks is the woman whose arrest after refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man helped spark the Montgomery bus boycott. Apparently she was often portrayed as  an apolitical seamstress who became an accidental activist. For example in a report on her funeral the San Francisco Chronicle described her as “the accidental matriarch of the civil rights movement”.

In the above video, Paul Schmitz demonstrates this is not the case. Like many others, Paul shows how she was already an activist deeply involved in the civil rights movement. One of the things that I like in Paul’s presentation is how he used it to illustrate the point that it takes many people to create a movement. In addressing the many complex problems we face, we need to draw on the skills and passions of many people.

As demonstrated in the Rosa Parks’ story, it’s also important to recognise the way in which sexism can impact on the roles people can play.

If you’re interested, there’s also a written version of Paul’s retelling of the story in the Huggington Post.

If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:

  1. What are complex problems?
  2. Principles of nonviolence
  3. What are Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops?
  4. Bottom-up community development
  5. Why I’ve gone rainbow-coloured
  6. My background in peace and environment groups

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), environmentalist, Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace & sustainability.
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