Past Event

Café Society: Remembering Rosa Parks: Civil Rights & Wrongs

Rosa Parks’ name is synonymous with civil rights and she is commonly known as the “mother of the civil rights movement”. Not only is she the first woman to ever lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, she is generally the only African-American woman to be included in the history books of our children. Mrs. Parks’ symbolic act gave a face to the nation and to the world of the cruelty and humiliation inherent in the laws and customs of segregation.

The passing of Rosa Parks is a time of reflection for our nation. As many of our leaders, historians, and commentators have been discussing, her life and reflecting on the current state of race relations, a number of issues have emerged.

Some commentary contrasts Mrs. Park’s “unassuming”, “modest”, and “quiet resistance” against anti-racist activists today. Is her approach and that of her peers in the civil rights movement such a radical departure from that used by anti-racist activists today? Is this a call for action or an indictment against those who have chosen to continue her struggle? Does this rhetoric operate to silence and de-legitimize the work that is currently going on?

Many public officials who came to honor this great woman would normally stand on the other side of the table from her on issues concerning race. Does their public appreciation of Mrs. Parks, act to create or validate a belief that racism is a thing of the past and therefore support the death of affirmative action?

Additionally, what are the implications of the fact that Rosa Parks was nearly evicted from her apartment within recent years because of her in ability to pay the rent? Why is it that a woman who is regarded as a national treasure and who has received so many accolades in her death would be allowed to face such indignities, again?

Join us this week at Café Society to honor Rosa Parks and discuss the appropriation of her legacy.

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For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.