Remembering Rosa Parks ( Democracy Now)


Born on Feb. 4, 1913, today would have been Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday. On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her act of resistance led to a 13-month boycott of the Montgomery bus system that would help spark the civil rights movement. Today we spend the hour looking at Rosa Parks’ life with historian Jeanne Theoharis, author of the new book, “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks.” Often described as a tired seamstress, no troublemaker, Parks was in fact a dedicated civil rights activist involved with the movement long before and after her historic action on the Montgomery bus. “Here we have, in many ways, one of the most famous Americans of the 20th century, and yet treated just like a sort of children’s book hero,” Theoharis says. “We diminish her legacy by making it about a single day, a single act, as opposed to the rich and lifelong history of resistance that was actually who Rosa Parks was.” We also air audio of Rosa Parks in her own words. In the midst of the boycott in April of 1956, she spoke to Pacifica Radio about the action she took. [includes rush transcript]

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A Day Spent With An ‘Anti-National’ Indian (PAVITHRA S. RANGAN in Outlook, February 19, 2015 on Priya Pillai)

Image result for priya pillai greenpeace
It’s 10:40 am. On the empty, gray terrace of Greenpeace India’s office in Gautam Nagar, a stone’s throw away from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai pulls out two chairs and sits down facing me. In the next one hour, as we try to talk, we would be interrupted by nearly a dozen phone calls. Surprisingly, not one is about the court hearing, that is to begin in a few hours, to decide whether she is anti-national, or on the contrary, protecting public interest by fighting for rights of tribals in Mahan, Madhya Pradesh and against a ‘British’ firm.

The calls, majority of them, are from her family. “We have done all we could for acchan (father). Now we are only torturing him amma. How much longer can he survive on ventilator support?” she asks in Malayalam. After a brief silence, supposedly to make allowance to her mother’s protests, she continues resolutely, “He’s surviving because of a machine. They are medically managing his life and only pushing it for a few days while torturing him. Do you really want to see him alive like this? We cannot continue to do this to him.” This seems to have convinced her mother, who hangs up soon after Pillai promises to get back to Kerala soon, after the signing of the counter-affidavit responding to the Ministry of Home Affairs’s reasons for not allowing her to board a flight to London by Indian immigration.

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