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"Other Mothers, Other Movements"

  Rec. 10-26-05


1) 4:08Mp3 radio essay

2) 4:25 Mp3 Radio essay

OTHER MOTHERS; OTHER MOVEMENTS
==================================
[Col. Writ. 10/25/05] Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal

   The death of civil rights icon, Mrs. Rosa Parks, at the age of 92, has become a national event, with media outlets running retrospectives from the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which  sparked the rise of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the birth of the modern civil rights movement.  This, in this moment of familial and social loss, is yet a good thing, for it teaches and reminds the young of how things were in an America that they did not live in.

   Mrs. Parks rightly deserved the accolades and honors heaped upon her, for the great and noble role she played in a mass movement that touched the lives of millions.

   Yet, unless one reads the work of Black and radical historians, we would not know that Mrs. Parks wasn't the first Black woman who refused to give her seat to a white man, and was arrested for refusing to do so.

   In December, 1955, an organizer of the Women's Political Council, JoAnn Robinson, acted within hours of Mrs. Parks' arrest, by working the phone tree, and then writing a leaflet, that went throughout the city, which read:

   "Another Negro woman has been arrested and thrown in jail because she refused to get up out of her seat on the bus for a white person to sit down.  It is the second time since the Claudette Calvin case that a Negro woman has been arrested for the same thing.  This has to be stopped.  Negroes have rights, too, for if Negroes did not ride the buses, they could not operate.  Three-fourths of the riders are Negroes, yet we are arrested, or have to stand over empty seats.  If we do not do something to stop these arrests, they will continue.  The next time it may be you, or your daughter, or mother.  This woman's case will come up on Monday.  We are, therefore, asking every Negro to stay off the buses Monday in protest of the arrest and trial.  Don't ride the bus to work, to town, to school, or anywhere on Monday.  You can afford to stay out of school for one day if you have no other way to go except by bus.  You can also afford to stay out of town for one day.  If you work, take a cab, or walk.  But please, children and grown-ups, don't ride the bus at all on Monday.  Please stay off all buses Monday."  [From: Robin D.G. Kelley & Earl Lewis, eds., *To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans* (Oxford/New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2000), p. 461.]

   Without JoAnn Robinson's activism, who would know of Mrs. Parks?  What if she, and her Women's Political Council, didn't act?  What if she hadn't activated the phone tree, or written, and then distributed this leaflet?  And what if Black folks in Montgomery, by the hundreds, thousands, and more, didn't respond to those leaflets?  Wasn't she a mother of the movement?

   People build movements, one by one; in tens, hundreds, thousands, and eventually, millions.

   And what of Claudette Calvin?  This poor woman, lost not only her seat, and her dignity, but was later tossed into a mental institution!  Few remember this woman's name, but her contribution, which set the stage for Parks, was immense.

   Yet, none of us can deny the power of Montgomery, and how it electrified the nation.  On Thursday, Dec. 1, 2005, a number of organizations, unions and activists are calling for a Rosa Parks 50th Anniversary Nationwide Strike, to Shut the War Down.

   On that day, they are calling for No School, No Shopping, No work to not only mark Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat, but a Nationwide Strike Against Poverty, Racism & War!

   Organizers include the Million Worker March Movement, the Troops Out Now Coalition, Black Workers for Justice, and a wide, diverse group of organizations and leaders.

   When asked about the bus boycott, Parks said, "The only thing that bothered me is that we waited so long to make this protest."  Let us not lose this important hour to speak out and protest against the ills that continue to plague this land, and that we have all painfully seen, recently.  Let us not 'wait so long' to protest the abiding madness of racism, the crippling social disease of poverty, or the national criminality of this war!  It's been 50 years since Rosa Parks' heroic stand in Montgomery against the racist system of segregation; today, in the brutal aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it is past time for protests against Poverty, Racism, and the scourge of War.

   People, joining together, make movements.

[For more info: #212-633-6646; On line: www.troopsoutnow.org]


Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal

 

  

[Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
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The Power of Truth is Final — Free Mumia!

PLEASE CONTACT:
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail - AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa