Rosa Parks' legacy challenges new generation
"As people get older and people pass, it becomes more and more difficult to have that sort of firsthand knowledge" of the fight for integration, said U.S. Rep. John Lewis (news, bio, voting record), a Georgia Democrat who first met Parks as a 17-year-old student and activist. "It becomes a little more difficult to pass it on."
Lewis, who once headed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, added that the social challenges of today — persistent racial gaps in poverty, education and wealth, among others — highlight the continued need for activists and teachers to honor Parks' spirit.
"Her life should inspire a generation yet unborn to stand up," he said.
Parks is one of a handful of civil rights figures, along with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, whose name most young people seem to know.
But many are more familiar with "Rosa Parks," the hit song by the hip-hop group OutKast, than her full story, said Renada Johnson, a 25-year-old graduate student at Bowie State University in Maryland, who met Parks in 1997.
"Young people definitely know who she was, but all we were taught in school was that she didn't get up because her feet were hurting," Johnson said. "They don't know her whole story."
comments powered by Disqus
- Kissinger Memo from 1972: Make the North Vietnamese think Nixon and I are crazy
- How Much U.S. History Do Americans Actually Know? Less Than You Think.
- Ice cream cone named after Adolf Hitler on sale in India sparks anger in Germany
- Expressing Outrage over Attacks on Cultural Heritage of Iraq, General Assembly Unanimously Adopts Resolution Calling for Urgent Action
- Isis Palmyra demolition has begun with ancient God Lion statue destroyed
- NYT hosts debate including Eric Foner: How Americans should remember Reconstruction
- William Leuchtenburg says historians and the media have been too hard on Obama
- Hugh Ambrose, historian who helped develop WWII Museum, dead at 48
- Historian discounts claim that Churchill and other British PM's were gay
- Nick Bunker Wins $50,000 2015 George Washington Book Prize