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Often referred to as the Mother of Civil Rights Movement, the venerated Rosa Parks now belongs to the ages; her legend earned a place of honor among the exemplary Americans. By her righteous indignation over the humiliation and inhumane treatment of Black citizens and courageous defiance and civil disobedience on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama fifty years ago, she set in motion a revolution of true liberation of Blacks from the last vestiges of racial outrage and slavery at the hands of oppressive White authorities and unjust laws.

Ms. Rosa Parks lived to see much change and progress in the area of civil rights that she and others suffered and sacrificed for over the next 50 years. Ms. Parks died in Detroit on October 24, 2005 at the age of 92, survived by her lasting legacy and legions of admirers.

Ms. Parks stood against the unconscionable tyranny of segregation and apartheid in the South and made it a moral cause for all decent Americans to stand up against this un-American practice and national disgrace. Using the moral authority of the constitutional promise of human dignity, fundamental rights, and equality, she challenged the conscience of the nation and persuaded them to reject the immoral and unjust walls of separation based on color and end segregation of races in America.

Ms. Rosa Parks' daring act of defiance and uncommon courage captured the heart and excitement of America, and made her a revered civil rights pioneer and a celebrated American icon, especially among the black Americans. Her refusal to give up her seat to a White man on a public bus on that day in December 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama she sparked a new life into the civil rights movement in America. In 1999, Rosa Parks, the shy, gentle, and unassuming civil rights pioneer, received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor that can be given to a civilian. Rosa Parks was accorded yet another rare honor (and a first for a woman), generally reserved for Presidents; her body lay in honor in the Rotunda of U.S. Capitol.

The story that this ordinary seamstress, an African-American daughter of the South, leaving behind such a landmark footprint in American history, will be long remembered and inspire many around the world. Born on February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama, Rosa Louise McCauley was the daughter of Leona, a teacher, and James McCauley, a farmer and carpenter. She witnessed the unjust laws and treatment of the Blacks and became active in the NAACP in her youth and when the destiny made an unexpected call and a demand on her deep faith, she exhibited her courage of conviction and uncommon inner strength guided by her deep faith. Rosa Parks always exhibited modesty and amazing grace over the historic incident and her singular contribution to the cause of civil rights in America.

The struggle equality and civil rights continues, but Ms. Rosa Parks greatly advanced the urgency of this just cause, and she will be remembered as one of the true champions of the inalienable human rights and dignity for all Americans. Like Dr. Martin Luther King and others, she is a symbol of uncommon courage; that one human being can make a lasting difference in the life and spirit of a nation and humanity. Rosa Parks is now a part of the honored gallery with other righteous freedom fighters; her life and legacy a centerpiece of the ultimate triumph of conscience and non-violence over injustice and inequality. She reminded us that in America, and around the world, we must honor that God's universal canopy of hope and dignity is for all living beings and each of us must be a torchbearer of that message and commitment. We must inspire our youth to be responsible citizens, give them hope and dignity, and encourage them to contribute to the strengths of our shared and precious humanity and their promise.

Ms. Rosa Parks is a tribute to the noblest ideals of humanity. May her soul rest in peace.

Kanwal Prakash "KP" Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA

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