Rosa Parks, senior citizen

Rosa Parks is remembered as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement” because she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man.

We talked about her quiet courage in our last blog post, but we also were fascinated to learn about some of the amazing activities of this incredible woman during her 70s and 80s.

In his book Rosa Parks—A Life, historian Douglas Brinkley discusses:

  • How Parks founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development in 1987 to help motivate youth to reach their highest potential.  She wanted them to learn about history and personal responsibility. A converted vegetarian, she also talked to them about nutrition.
  • How she visited Japan in 1994 and learned about Buddhist meditation. A devout Christian, she soon began meditating along with her Christian prayers as part of her daily ritual.
  • How she spent many hours during her later years reading, especially books about the struggle for racial equality and the women’s suffrage movement.
  •  How she helped the Parks Institute create a program that encouraged junior high school students to visit senior care facilities and teach the residents about the Internet and e-mail. In 1998, the program’s first graduate, Thaijuan Williamson, age 14, had the honor of teaching Rosa Parks how to use a computer. “It’s by far the highlight of my life,” he said. “She was quick to catch on.”

Rosa Parks, who became a powerful role model in 1955 when she refused to give up her bus seat, also was a powerful role model  of how a strong Resolute Woman can continue to grow and contribute in her 70s and even in her 80s.

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