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Quiet Strength: The Faith, the Hope, and the Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation Hardcover – August 26, 1994
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Parks, one of the U.S.' authentic living legends, is the black lady who on December 1, 1955, refused to surrender her bus seat to a white man, was arrested under the Jim Crow law that required blacks to make way for whites, and thereby launched the yearlong bus boycott by blacks in Birmingham, Alabama, which led to the national overturning of that city's and similar segregation laws across the nation. In this tiny collection of what seem like outtakes from oral-history tapes, she rehearses her great day (as it seems from the perspective of history; Parks remembers it as "not a happy experience. . . . I had not planned to be arrested"), stressing that it wasn't, as many have romanticized, because her feet were tired that she didn't move, but because she was "tired of being oppressed . .ÿ20. just plain tired." Her remarks, disposed somewhat arbitrarily into sections topically named "Fear," "Pain," "Character," "Faith," "Values," reflect her lifelong commitment to justice for black Americans and to peace and equal opportunity for all. Further, she leaves no doubt that her persistence in these causes springs from her deep Christian faith and the obligation she feels to make a better world for future generations. Perhaps the sentiments are not all that special, but their speaker certainly is special. Ray Olson
From the Back Cover
On June 15, 1999, Mrs. Rosa Parks was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor -- a tribute to the power of one solitary woman to influence the soul of a nation. But awards and influence were far from her mind when, on December 1, 1955, she refused to move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was not trying to start a movement. She was simply tired of social injustice and did not think a woman should be forced to stand so that a man could sit down. Yet her simple act of courage set in motion a chain of events that changed forever the landscape of American race relations. Quiet Strength celebrates the principles and convictions that have guided her through a remarkable life. It is a printed record of her legacy -- her lasting message to a world still struggling to live in harmony. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Quiet Strength, to me, was more of a setting the record straight after having responded with silence to questions about her strength. And she made it clear, (as she probably has a million times to those who have listened) that her strength is from the Lord. For example, Parks stated, "I felt the Lord would give me the strength to endure whatever I had to face. God did away with all my fear. It was time for someone to stand up---or in my case, sit down. I refused to move. It is funny to me how people came to believe that the reason that I did not move from my seat was that my feet were tired. My feet were not tired, but I was tired--tired of unfair treatment."
Again, Parks, in her quiet strength way, provides correction when she said, "I was not the only person involved. I was just one of the many who fought for freedom."
Quiet Strength---in a world of vociferous boasting----is a position/posture/idea worthy of a seat and a spell.
Here are some quotations from the book:
"When I sat down on the bus the day I was arrested, I was thinking of going home. I had made up my mind quickly about what it was that I had to do. I did not think of being physically tired or fearful... All I felt was tired. Tired of being pushed around. Tired of seeing the bad treatment and disrespect of children, women, and men just because of the color of their skin. Tired of Jim Crow laws. Tired of being oppressed. I was just plain tired." (Pg. 17)
"I did not get on the bus to get arrested; I got on the bus to get home. Getting arrested was one of the worst days in my life. It was not a happy experience." (Pg. 23)
"There were other people on the bus whom I knew. But when I was arrested, not one of them came to my defense. I felt very much alone. One man who knew my husband did not even go to my house to tell my husband that I had been arrested." (Pg. 24)
"It is funny to me how people came to believe that the reason I did not move from my seat was that my feet were tired. I did not hear this until I moved to Detroit in 1957." (Pg. 25)
"The church was and is the foundation of our community." (Pg. 31)
Concerning the 1994 robbery of her by a young black man, "I pray for this young man and the conditions in our country that have made him this way. I urge people not to read too much into the attack. I regret that some people, regardless of race, are in such a mental state that they would want to harm an older person." (Pg. 37)
"During the Montgomery bus boycott, we came together and remained unified for 381 days. It has never been done again. The Montgomery boycott became the model for human rights throughout the world." (Pg. 39)
"One thing we need to do is tell young people about our struggles for civil rights... They must be reminded that many people have died so that they can have what they have now." (Pg. 81)
What is sad (as I have noted in my title) is the fact that Ms. Parks recently passed away at age 92, just 9 days before I worte this; her funeral was held today in Detroit. May she rest in peace.