Editorial: Journey not yet complete
Saturday marks 57 years since Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery public bus.
The moment is but one of many that testifies where our country was six decades ago. It is but one of many that moved us toward a place we are at today, fueled by the eventual passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Our journey never ends.
Parks wasn’t the first bus rider to challenge the law. One of the first was pretty famous, too.
Jackie Robinson, the baseball player who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier when signed by Branch Rickey of the Dodgers, faced a U.S. Army court-martial for refusing to give up his seat on a segregated bus. He eventually got an honorable discharge in 1945 and played in the majors two years later.
Parks became known as the mother of the civil rights movement. A 26-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. advised non-violent boycotts of the Montgomery buses, and less than a year later, the Supreme Court overruled the Alabama and Montgomery laws.
King understood the founding of our country. We were founded with the right to protest, lawfully that is, and the young Baptist minister encouraged his followers to do so.
Our nation has seen great change since Robinson, Parks and King. And yet, for many reasons, we haven’t fulfilled dreams.
Racial discrimination is illegal, but still exists.
Equal rights are the law, but not always enforced.
Even reverse discrimination is questioned, but certainly can be found.
Suspicious minds are still among us when the color of skin, or the sound of voice, is different than our own. No matter what laws have been passed, what speeches have been heard, what lessons have been learned, race still pegs our hot-button meters.
Without question, we make up our minds and go forth with choices tainted by race — whether it be the choice of president, a business we patronize, or even where we sit.
We’ve traveled far since Rosa Parks stood up by not standing. We have a great distance to go.