We Americans have torn down a lot of statues during the past few years. You know the type: Memorials to military and civil leaders of the Confederate States of America.
Perhaps it’s time to switch gears and erect a few new statues. Give credit to the people and public officials of Montgomery, Alabama, for taking the lead.
Earlier this month, Montgomery dedicated a new statue honoring the late Rosa Parks. The ceremony was held on the 64th anniversary of Parks’ historic refusal to give up her seat on a public bus, to a white man.
That got her kicked off the bus, under the viciously racist laws that existed at the time. It also sparked a boycott of city buses in Montgomery, helping a civil rights movement that continued to gain strength.
Parks, 92 years old when she died in 2005, was a small, quiet woman. That marvelous lady had the courage to say, “Enough!” Her deed inspired millions.
The courage of Parks and others who fought, sometimes at great risk, against segregation and racial violence deserves more recognition than we Americans have provided to date.
It is one thing to tear down statues erected to honor those who fought to perpetuate slavery. It is another, more important in many ways, to recognize those who fought against it, then later against discrimination of any sort.
Good for the people of Montgomery - which, incidentally, was the first capital of the Confederacy.
The fight against slavery, then for civil rights, had many heroes and heroines. One day, let us hope, they will join Rosa Parks in being recognized through statues honoring truly great Americans.