Thursday, April 19, 2012

Barack Obama sits on Rosa Parks bus

By David Jackson/USA Today

When President Barack Obama went to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn on Wednesday, he got to visit one of the shrines of the civil rights movement that helped lead to the nation's first African-American president.

Rosa Parks' bus.

Obama described a moving scene to supporters later that morning.

"I actually had the chance to sit in Rosa Parks' bus," Obama said. "I just sat there for a moment and pondered the courage and tenacity that is part of our very recent history, but is also a part of that long line of folks -- sometimes nameless, oftentimes didn't make the history books -- but who constantly insisted on their dignity, their stake in the American Dream."

Parks' refusal to move to the back of that bus on Dec. 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Ala., led to her arrest, which led to a bus boycott by African Americans, which led to the creation of the Montgomery Improvement Association, which led to the elevation of a young minister named Martin Luther King Jr.

Eventually came the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and an ongoing sea change in American race relations that includes the 2008 election of Barack Obama.

Said Obama at another stop: "It takes ordinary citizens to bring about change, who are committed to keep fighting and keep pushing, and keep inching this country closer to our highest ideals."
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