I was saddened to read of the death of Rosa Parks yesterday.
Rosa Parks was the woman who made a quiet and dignified stand against segregation in the deep south of the USA, when, in 1955, she refused to give up her bus seat for a white man, when told to do so by the driver. (Wikipedia.org)
This led to her arrest for 'disorderly conduct', and her case was taken up by the African American community, led by the then-unknown Baptist Minister, the Rev Martin Luther King.
The organisation then encouraged a boycott on public buses, which lasted for over a year and caused many buses to remain idle through lack of customers, until the segregation laws on buses were changed. This in turn led to other challenges against segregation laws and the rest is history.
It just goes to show how one simple action by one individual, against an unfair, immoral, and deeply unjust law, can have far-reaching consequences. Rosa Parks is seen as a hero by many Americans for that one act. She never stood for Congress or the Senate, she never ran a large campaign group, she never served in the armed forces or did anything else that would have given her a major political label before she even started, bar the colour of her skin, which in a civilized enviroment would not be important. But this quiet, dignified woman made a simple stand and in respect to civil rights, the southern states of the US (in particular Alabama) are a better place as a result.