A couple of weeks ago there was news out of Montgomery, Alabama that they unveiled a new statue of none other than civil rights activist and icon Rosa Parks.
It didn’t stop south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
It’s a pair of great honors for a great woman. Then it hit me.
Where is our Rosa Parks statue? Where she lived for so many years?
We have Christopher Columbus mere yards from city hall, notorious for his not discovering of America and the mistreatment of native peoples.
He gets honored, along with a whole slew of white guys past and present. Some, deserved, Some, not.
And sure, there’s the Rosa Parks Transit Center, but in today’s Detroit, places of reverence for our history and culture matter.
The fact is people of color and women are basically absent from Detroit’s public honor and statuary.
Sure, there’s the misunderstood Joe Louis fist and the Joe Louis fighter in Cobo. But not much else.
Everybody who takes a selfie with a Rosa Parks statue would keep the memory alive, and would remember it was less than a lifetime ago where blacks had to give up their seats on bus for whites.
Less than a lifetime ago, when drinking fountains couldn’t be shared.
It’s a reminder we must always be vigilant when fighting for freedoms and not forget — as objects in our country’s racist rearview mirror are closer than they appear.
After all, Martin Luther King Jr. would be the same age today as the very much alive Barbara Walters. This isn’t our distant past. This within a lifetime.
There was a picture on Twitter that recently went viral with Parks and a 24 year old model and artist, Chandler Cosey.
Lil Chan vs Big Chan pic.twitter.com/P0BltGh8l6— Chan Cozy (@lovechvn) November 19, 2019
In major part, Parks was the catalyst for making our nation a more perfect union. She is, after all, in the U.S. Capitol. But she’s not good enough for Woodward? Or Jefferson? Come on.
And as to the buses, sure, we have THE bus at the Henry Ford in Dearborn, but reserving a seat on all buses, suburban and city, would show thousands of bus riders the important contribution a woman who moved to Detroit made to the world.
I’m sure we could come up with some of our own honors, too.
After all, Detroit was the home for Parks after her act of defiance and she continued to serve the community for decades here.
Future generations of Detroiters should see her face and know her story. And in the most visible parts of the city, so the whole world can see.
Honoring Rosa Parks — along with others more reflective of the place we are today — in a place of pride is something the whole city and region should be able to get behind.