In the last two weeks two heroes of the Civil Rights Movement have passed away – Rosa Parks and Vivian Malone Jones. Ms. Parks' legacy of courage and elegant refusal to support a segregated system made her known worldwide for the rest of her life. Ms. Jones was one of the first two students to integrate the University of Alabama even with Governor George Wallace’s “stand in the schoolhouse door.”
Their lives literally opened doors for people to enter American life in new ways and with new expectations. We aren’t where we need to be yet but we wouldn’t be where we are today without the courage of Rosa Parks and Vivian Malone Jones.
In a wonderful tribute cartoon in The Washington Post on October 26th, 2005 St. Peter says, “Rosa Parks … yes, we have something in the front row for you … we have been holding it open since 1955.”
Ms. Parks and Ms. Jones have front row seats in history and our hearts.