Rosa L. Parks

by Robert H. Spain

Every week you’ll find different types of posts here on the ABS blog. Today’s post is for individuals, to encourage personal reflection and Bible study.

The United Methodist Publishing House sits on Rosa L. Parks Boulevard. That’s not any-old-name. It is not a made-up identification or a name randomly drawn from a hat. It is the name of a real person, Rosa Parks, a lady in Montgomery, Alabama who stood her ground by refusing to give up her seat on a public transit bus. She was arrested, charged with unlawful conduct, and was fined for her illegal action. At the same time she ignited a fire that swept through Montgomery, the State of Alabama, and ultimately the Nation. Her “staying put” on a public transportation bus stirred one of the biggest boycotts ever to hit any city.


The boycott of the Public Transportation System in Montgomery wasn’t the end of her life story. She became actively involved in the Montgomery Chapter of the NAACP in 1943. Later with a new pastor in town, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. she had new opportunities to enlarge her concerns for the rights of all people.


Rosa Parks has received many accolades for her “staying put” on a Montgomery bus and for her life of work for the Civil Rights Movement. The NAACP gave her their highest award, the Spingarn Medal. She received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award. She received the National Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Time magazine named her on its list of “The 20 most influential People of the 20th. Century.” Her death was marked by her casket lying in state at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. And…she was chosen as the namesake of the boulevard we call home.


It’s amazing what one person can do. Most of us dream and fantasize about making a difference, but something always gets in the way. We’re not big enough. We don’t have the right education. We’re in the wrong vocation or profession. We don’t have the right skills. We don’t belong to the people in power. We are lacking the finances.


Rosa Parks didn’t have any of the things most of us have. She simply chose a seat and claimed it.



Today's blog post was written by Robert H. Spain. Robert Spain is a retired United Methodist bishop and former chaplain of the United Methodist Publishing House.

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