Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Full circle?

I spent a great deal of time yesterday reading about the Civil Rights movement in this country. "How did I ever get on that topic?" you might well ask.

Well, it's kind of a long story - and not a boring one, either, so grab yourself another cup of coffee and sit back. My journey began when, in search of inspiration for a post of my own, I started reading 'Favorites' that I hadn't checked up on in a while. This one stopped me dead in my tracks.

The author is a knitter - obviously, if you click on the link - and she has a lot of readers! I think it was Steven who put me on to her site, initially, but I'm not positive about that.

As I continued to read - I'm a knitter, altho not the caliber she is, so that sort of stuff is always interesting to me - I noted that she said she was among the finalists for Canada's 2008 best blog award and was thanking all those who had voted for her.

Well, that caught my attention and I immediately headed over to this site. Then, wouldn't you know, my curiosity got the best of me and I continued to click onto others' blogsites that either had been originally nominated or were among the top five going on to the next round in the voting. (Do we have such a thing here in the States? Probably. I'm just not aware of it if we do.)

One of those sites had a side margin (probably not using the right terminology here) that continued on like 'forever' - lots of links, quotes, references, etc. - I mean, just tons of stuff! Cite after cite, link after link. I clicked on a few and read them. All were of interest to me, particularly one that referenced a radio interview with Rosa Parks in 1956.

Did you realize that it's been 53 years now since that famous incident in Montgomery, Alabama, when she refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man? Perhaps the date - 12/01/55 - was at your mind's ready fingertips, but it wasn't at mine!

I was eighteen years old, living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a freshman in college, and very far removed from any sort of personal contact with the tremendous struggle and upheaval going on in this country.

I was interested in learning more about Rosa Parks. I knew who she was, but the rest of my stored 'information' was terribly faulty. I had always thought that she was somewhat elderly (she was in her early 40's!), was tired from her long day at work (she said that she was not!), and that she sat in the 'white section' because she was so tired (actually, she sat in the first row of the 'black section'!).

I 'knew' that she had been one of the sparks to ignite the modern Civil Rights movement. That was correct. What I did not know was that it was she who propelled Martin Luther King, Jr. on his way to national recognition.

There are so many stories! I found myself getting more and more immersed in this saga, and kept clicking on link after link, reference after reference.

It was while reading about the history of the Civil Rights movement here in the States that I came across the name Ida B. Wells. Now that name caught my attention because it is so close to my mother's! I immediately thought, "What if?" Wouldn't be unheard of, right? It couldn't have been my mother, because Ida B. Wells died in 1931, but still! Perhaps she was a distant relative?

Have you ever heard of Ida B. Wells? I had not, but - the more I read about her, the more I wish I had known her. What a woman she must have been! I stopped reading in the wee hours last night, but knew that this just had to be the subject of my next post.

And so here we have come - full circle, as it were. A termed 'African-American' (altho there are some other things thrown in there that no one seems to want to talk about, except in passing - ?!?) has recently been elected to become the next President of the United States.

My hopes and prayers are that he will provide our country with leadership, that he was not chosen 'because he is black', that he will occupy and preside over a White House that was originally built by slaves with dignity and humility, and that he will - in spite of his youth - be able to do so with honor and, in the end, distinguish himself as one of our greatest presidents.


MD said...

I'm so glad to see that Ida B. Wells provides inspiration to you. She was my great-grandmother. I just completed a book entitled Ida: In Her Own Words that includes some of her writings. You can read excerpts and see ordering information on my website

Tammy said...

I've typed, deleted, typed, and deleted for the past 5-10 minutes.

I guess I should leave my comment short and sweet: Rosa Parks was an amazing woman and hero of mine.

steven said...

hey goldenrod, yep it was a link to yarn harlot (for that is the knitter's blog you refer to) that talked about politics in canada a while back and then a close friend fired this very entry my way. canada's government is in turmoil and is about to be replaced by a coalition of parties who disagree with the "ruling party". wow. exciting stuff. civil rights filled me in my high school years when i first read about rosa parks and now i teach my own class every year about rosa and all that happened around her.

Goldenrod said...

When following some of the various links yesterday, Steven, it indeed does sound like there's a lot of turbulence going on up your way. It sounds like you don't get personally involved, but rather stay informed and observe with interest from the sidelines. That's probably very healthy!

There was a period of 18 years during which Rosa and Ida B. could possibly have met, but I don't think they ever did. At least, Wiki doesn't mention it. MD could probably tell us more about that.

Wiki tells how Ida B. was working on her autobiography when she died. It was never finished. "In fact," Wiki says, "it ends in the middle of a sentence, in the middle of a word."

How interesting, MD, that she was your great-grandmother and that you have just published a book that includes some of her writings.

I will visit your site, and invite you to visit again here as often as you like. Comments are always welcome.

MD said...

The autobiography of Ida B. Wells was finished by her daughter, (my grandmother) Alfreda Duster, and published in 1970. It's "Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells"

I'm not aware that Ida and Rosa Parks met.

Goldenrod said...

I added a response yesterday to your last comment, MD, that I deleted some hours later. It was written when I was in a terrible hurry, and I sincerely regret that I didn't just wait until I had more time to assimilate and then try to say whatall was racing through my mind.

I didn't keep a copy of my response, but - from what I can remember of what I wrote, it was prompted by my thinking that I was really intrigued by this subject (Civil Rights) and found myself wanting to have an ongoing dialogue with you ... you as an African-American woman, me as an English/German/Scots-Irish/Swedish-American woman (no African in my history that I am aware of at this point in time).

Tell you the truth, I'm not much on gay/civil/women's rights ... I'm much more of an individual's rights person.

I did check your website, and read much of what you have written. For the most part, I was impressed.

I thought, "This is someone whom I would like to get to know a little better."

I'm pretty sure I had the audacity to caution you about not allowing your mind to reside so much in the past that you are not cognizant of the present. Apologize for that, as well!

Anyhoo, MD, I appreciate the comeback. Hope you will visit my site again.