'National Ride on the Front of the Bus Day" honoring Rosa Parks' Birthday

>> Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy Revolutionary Birthday Rosa Parks! Rest in Power

Photo: NYTimes.com

Today is our ancestor Rosa Parks' birthday.

The civil rights icon stood up by sitting down -- just like the Greensboro Four.

The South was segregated in all aspects; lunch counters, churches, education, water fountains and public transportation. Black people had to sit on the back of the bus and give up their sits

In 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat for a white passenger and move to the back of the bus.

"All I was trying to do was get home from work," Parks said.

She wasn't the first to challenge these segregation laws; however. Probably the most known, but unknown was Claude Colvin, who refused to give up her seat nine months prior.

What made Rosa Parks different -- as Cedric the Entertainer joked in the movie Barbershop, was that Parks was the Secretary of the Montgomery Chapter of the NAACP. While Cedric jokes that all she did was "sit her black a$$ down" it was much more this time.

Her organizational skills and history made her the perfect person to challenge segregation laws.

As a proud bus rider, I appreciate Rosa Parks for standing up. I was wrote a parody of Mistah F.A.B.'s rhyme on "Sick Wit' It" that:

"I'm not a dummy, retarded or ride the Yellow Bus/
I ride with Rosa Parks 'cuz she rode for us/"

Unfortunately, Parks wasn't always honored for her contributions. Parks was robbed and beaten in her Detroit home in the 1990s and folks may remember that Rosa Parks sued Hip Hop legends, "Outkast" in 1999 for their song, "Rosa Parks."

"Rosa Parks"

Original Outkast "Rosa Parks video

Ironically, 55 years later and young Black folks choose to sit on the back of the bus.

Here's a poem I wrote 50 years after the Montgomery Bus Boycott in October 2005:

Rosa Parks poem (circa October 2005)

Riding home on the bus, smelling like must
My mind on the Creator, in God I trust
But all the seats shaking like they ready to bust
I'm wondering why ain't no brothers sitting up front?
Did you hear that Rosa Parks passed last week?
Brother looked away like I didn't speak
He's been working all day and ready to sleep
Mine preoccupied and can't dig too deep
Peep, other brother in the back rolling weed
Like it's the only thing we need
And we feed the stereotypes created by white
Supremacy, but it ain't gonna blemish me
Tarnish my thoughts or alter my perceptions
I get up, go in the opposite direction
I look back, dude thought I was telling the driver
Dry snitch that he had that fire, but I AM fire
Rarely restrained cannot be contained
Igniting frightening brains, am I insane for saying
Before you finish rolling that or spark:
Sit on the front of the bus like you rolled for Rosa Parks/

In honor of Rosa Parks Birthday, I, Reginald James, blogger of the Daily Regiment, declare February 4, 2010 as "National Ride on the Front of the Bus Day." Special shout out to Felix Solomon of the Laney Tower for the idea.

If you are riding the bus today, ride in the front. But it's okay to give up your seat for an old lady.

Today is also the birthday of my beautiful sister Shantel James.



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About This Blog

Insight into my daily regimen. Obviously of a different specimen. Me, myself & I. So fly. Welcome to the Daily Regiment.

This blog is an outlet for me to write about my life experiences. While there will be consistent themes in my writing -- because I am what I project in written form -- the topics will vary from day to day, and post to post.

If you are interested in my formal news reporting, you can visit The Reginald James Report or The Black Hour.

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