"Nah." Rosa Parks,1955

          For many, Parks was the quiet seamstress and mother of the Civil Rights Movement when in fact, she was so much more.

As a child she listened to her grandfather, who admired the teachings of Marcus Garvey, tell stories of a unification and empowerment of black people.  Hearing these stories of struggle, self-pride and determination inspired her to become an activist for justice.  Her husband  Raymond was the founder of the Montgomery branch of the NAACP and she served as the chapter’s secretary.   

What many do not know, when Parks was 18, she narrowly escaped a rape attempt of a white man while working as a domestic. Years later, Parks would serve as an NAACP investigator for the sexual violence against black women by white men.  Parks worked on many cases with the NAACP, including the Scottsboro Boys defense of 9 black teenage boys accused of rape in Alabama in 1931.

Parks was trained in non-violent resistant strategies by the NAACP.    After her 1955 historic bus ride, Parks was often the target of death threats and struggled to gain employment within the Birmingham area.  Parks and her husband relocated to Detroit, Michigan in 1957 where she continued to work as a seamstress.  She was hired by Congressman John Conyers to work as his administrative assistant in 1965 until her retirement in 1988.    Parks continued to lend her support in causes after retirement by participating in the anti-apartheid movement in the 1990s.

I proudly wear this t-shirt today to celebrate Rosa Parks, 
a black woman, a feminist, MY SHERO.   

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