Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Heroic Moments I’ve Had

1: Helping Rosa Parks

Back when segregation was still an active part of life in America, citizen Rosa Parks, a black woman, took a bus. She sat down, as she had to, in the area designated for blacks, and the bus set off. However, on this particular day the bus route was very busy, and quickly the white section of the bus grew to be completely full. As most conductors did at the time, the man on this bus came over to tell the black citizens to get up and get out of the way so that the white folks could sit down. I was there when this went down.

As I was sat behind Rosa at this time, I realised that this could be a way of gaining momentum for the cause of the black people, and I quickly gave her a dead leg just before the conductor came over to her. He asked her to get up and she refused, because her leg didn’t work and she wouldn’t be able to get up properly. She turned to look at me and I gave her a wink, which was the moment when she realised what I intended to happen. She turned round and sat there, holding steady in the face of segregation.

That evening I walked up to a church and went inside, going up to one of the men who was sat inside. I told him to turn the TV over to the news channel. He did what I asked, and the main story for that day was all about Rosa Parks. The man stood up, and he said that he would have to do something about all this – so I suggested he go visit a man called Ralph David Abernathy. I watched with pride as this young man, called Martin Luther King Jr, left the church for the evening. My work was done.

Don’t thank me: I was just doing what was right.

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