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Speaker, for several decades now, I have had the privilege of knowing a woman who set great wheels of social change in motion. Forty years ago this year, she gave birth not to one life but to many lives by igniting the energies of the civil rights movement. From a single, simple act of courage, she showed those suffering in the Nation how to move from hope to determination. That woman was Rosa Parks, and she accomplished all this by refusing to sit in the back of the bus. Stop time: Look back, look ahead, jot a note, nothing will ever be the same.

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Parks had the qualities middle- class whites claimed in themselves and denied in blacks. He told her he's shoot the first Klansman through the door. Before long, Mrs.

Only months before, a year-old girl, Claudette Colvin--inspired by a high school Alabams lectures on the need for equal rights, angered by the conviction of a black high school student for allegedly raping a white woman--had refused to give up her seat to a white, then resisted arrest when the police came. Although politically conservative, the family supported Clifford and Virginia financially and gave him legal business.

She wasn't a leader of the movement, and didn't try to be.

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One of them was Clifford Durr. Rotha Boswell, a cousin of Rosa's who is now 81, even remembers a time Leona spanked Rosa's brother for getting lower marks than Rotha, who always thought Leona believed her children were better than everybody else's. She didn't start the Montgomery bus boycott or the civil rights movement, neither of which burst forth from any single symbolic act. She was Leona Edwards' aunt.

Parks writes that as she sat on the bus, waiting for the police to arrive, she was thinking about the night as a girl when she sat with her grandfather, shotgun at the ready, while the KKK rode the countryside.

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She speaks softly and deliberately. Those who took the literacy test again birtnday again. Nixon and Clifford Durr recognized instinctively that Mrs. That night, after hushed conversations, Nixon and Clifford Durr asked if she would plead not guilty and fight her arrest in court.

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We bake everything fresh daily using only all natural. Pratt, who knew Mrs.

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Forty years later, the defiance of Rosa Parks and the success of the boycott are enshrined in mystery and myth that obscure a deeper truth that is even richer, grander and more heroic. Unlike nearly all black families near Pine Level, Leona's family didn't crop for shares. Although she birthdag little, she was gently assertive when she did, with a touch of music in her voice.

Parks discovered she was the great-granddaughter of the dark-skinned black man in Pine Level who had refused to work for whites, the man young Rosa had secretly admired. Despite her genuine gentleness and pragmatic faith in the tactic of civil disobedience, Rosa Parks was never entirely comfortable with the philosophy of nonviolence and the idea that if black people were attacked, they shouldn't fight back.

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No evidence supports that claim. But Rufus Lewis, 88 years old, a giant in the Montgomery civil rights movement, a man barely known outside his circle of massae contemporaries, still lives on the old black east side. He stops talking, leans across the desk where he is sitting, fingers steepled, eyes blank, lost again.

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He was a Pullman porter and the local head of A. He can't recall Rosa Parks. Parks as she bidthday led off the bus.

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They mimeographed the literacy test, taught folks the answers, traveled by cover of night through the backwoods Jim Crow landscape, sent light- skinned blacks to the Montgomery registrar's office to learn if it was open that day, drove folks to the courthouse. She'd say. By the time she was a toddler, the marriage of her mother and father was pretty much over and Leona had moved back to Pine Level to live with her parents.

I consider myself a symbol of freedom and equality, and I wanted to let it be known that that was what I believed in. Already, she was a symbol. She wrapped her arms around her chest and when the bus lurched forward, she slipped hard enough that a black man offered her his seat and she sat grannles.

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He can't recall his past. She doesn't know. Nothing about her supported the white contention that she deserved to be treated as inferior. Gray asks.

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Durr smiles benevolently. At her stop, Mrs. I didn't want to mistreated under the guise of legally enforced racial segregation and that the more we endured that kind of treatment, the worse we were being treated. It became front- news and announced the boycott to every black in Montgomery.