Rosa Parks Statue Reminds Us of All Our Foremothers

Daub-Firmin-Rosa-Parks-in-BW-Sepia-2One of my earliest online feminist campaigns was to get the word out that there was a statue of Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony at the U.S. Capitol, but that it was located in the basement or the Crypt. I was outraged to learn that in the Rotunda there were no women represented. No women to represent all we have done for this country, whether it was to hold down the home-front as the men went off to war, women who were Rosie the Riveters, women who fought for so many things we take for granted (Thank you Jane Addams for regular garbage collections!).

In my twenties, I was a bit lost as to what I was going to do with my life. Once when visiting Washington, D.C., sat at the feet of Stanton, Mott and Anthony and meditated. It was as if I asked them to tell me what to do with myself. There are few moments in my life I have been so moved than to sit in our nation’s capital and call on my ancestors.

As I hear the words of President Obama welcoming a statue of Rosa Parks to the Statuary Hall today, I am again moved. One more fore-mother is formally there. It is huge that in our nation’s capital that a statue of Rosa Parks will greet visitors, especially schoolchildren. We all know her courage to start the Montgomery bus boycott. I hope visitors will hear that she was far more than a woman who engaged in just one act of brave defiance, but also a social justice leader. For me, she is a reminder that one of us may get the spotlight, but it takes a contingent of allies behind us to pull off the unthinkable – not just a boycott, but a change in how people view the injustices in our lives.

Yes, I plan to visit her and pay my respects the next time I am in town. And yes, even at 38-years-old, I will still ask Mrs. Parks what the heck I am supposed to do when I grow up.

Guest contributor Veronica Arreola writes the blog Viva la Feminista, where she tries to navigate and understand the intersection between feminism, motherhood and her Latinadad.

Image via Daub & Firmin Studios website

  • Denise

    Nicely said. Now if we could only get the statues of these great women moved to a more visible spot and add statues of Alice Paul and Lucy Burns.

  • I will be visiting the statue in May and I say LONG TIME COMING. Very needed for all school children to see Rosa Parks in that building, and understand as John Lewis explained yesterday, how she indeed ignited the movement and possibly fighted up the ministry of MLK Jr. She did not intend to be a historic figure, sometimes as the saying says greatest is thrust upon you. Thank you Rosa Parks Thanks you.

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