Forward Thinkers: How Will You Be Remembered?

With quiet courage and non-negotiable dignity, Rosa Parks was an activist and a freedom fighter that trans­formed a nation and confirmed a notion that ordinary people can have an extraordinary effect on the world. In her declining health, I would often visit Mrs. Parks, and once asked her the most basic question: “Why did you do it?” She said the inspiration for her Dignity Day in 1955 occurred three months prior, when African-Amer­ican Emmett Till’s murdered and disfigured body was publicly displayed for the world to see. “When I thought about Emmett Till,” she told me, “I could not go to the back of the bus.” Her feet never ached.” – Rev. Jesse Jackson

“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free…


By Pastor E. A. Deckard
Special to the Outlook from NNPA

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement” will always be remembered for what she did on Decem­ber 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama.

Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boy­cott became important sym­bols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She be­came an international icon of resistance to racial seg­regation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Martin Luther King, Jr.

At the time, Parks, a sec­retary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, at­tended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee cen­ter for training activists for workers’ rights and racial equality. She acted as a pri­vate citizen “tired of giving in.” Although widely hon­ored in later years, she also suffered for her act; she was fired from her job as a seam­stress in a local department store.

What amazes me more is the fact that Rosa Parks gained the courage to refuse to “get up” because she had become frustrated with the system after the killing of Emmett Till.

The nation has recently been rocked and saddened by the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and dozens of other young Black and Brown men. As we have seen, the killings have gone unpunished, leav­ing this generation of young people wondering if Black and Brown lives matter in America.

At what point or after which killing of a young person will you become frus­trated enough to care enough to do something? Rosa Parks was sick and tired of being sick and tired and her frustra­tions led her into action. The alarm has been ringing wait­ing for you to have the faith to answer.

Rosa Parks will always be remembered for what she did but, what will you be re­membered for?

Let’s look back and be blessed and empowered by the words of Rosa Louise McCauleyParks:

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear,” Parks said.

The Bible states for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Rosa Parks didn’t allow the fear of the unknown to stop her from making her mark on this world. She made her mind up on December 1, 1955 that she would not take it anymore and the fact that she could be thrown in jail or even killed could not stop her from planting her feet firmly on the floor of the bus and refusing to move.

We must no longer allow the fear of what could happen to us prevent us from taking a stand for justice and righ­teousness. King David didn’t allow fear to overcome him even though all those around him were living in fear of be­ing defeated by Goliath.

I challenge you to stop al­lowing fear to speak louder than faith. This season, the people of faith must walk by faith and defeat the giants of injustice across America.

“Each person must live their life as a model for oth­ers,” said Rosa Parks.

The Bible states in Mat­thew 5:16 in the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Rosa Parks became a bea­con of light for many to fol­low behind her although she was just an ordinary seam­stress working in a local department store at the time of her act of courage. She proved, you can make a dif­ference right where you are.

I’m assuming by the fact that you are reading this “Forward Thinking” column that you desire to see change in America. But, today I challenge you to become the change you desire to see. Rosa Parks challenged us to become role models to others and I accept her challenge; how about you?

“At the time I was arrested I had no idea it would turn into this. It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in,” Parks said.

We all know or are famil­iar with Romans 8:28 – God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His pur­pose for them.

On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks had no idea that God would use her to spark a national movement but she did know she had a responsi­bility to do something. Faith without works is dead and I believe every act of faith is an opportunity for God to do something great through you.

When God woke us up this morning, he had a divine purpose for our lives and we must follow the lead of Rosa Parks and walk in our divine purpose. We never know what the Lord has in store for us, therefore; we must continue to operate in faith as the Lord reveals His plan for our lives.

When Moses got to the Red Sea he had no idea that as he started to walk into the sea, the Lord would open up a pathway and others would be joining him on his journey through the Red Sea.

Today, I challenge you to discover your divine purpose and walk in it and trust the Lord to send others into your life to follow you and assist you.

“Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome,” Parks said.

Yes racism is still alive and well in America where Blacks and Browns are being incarcerated and murdered at record setting paces, but we must follow the lead of Rosa Parks and prepare our children to be successful in spite of the obstacles in front of them.

The bible teaches us to teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

We have a responsibility to continue to teach and train the youth of this generation how to overcome and suc­ceed in a land of racism and injustice. Forward Thinkers, remember in the bible that Daniel tested better than the other young men of his gen­eration because, someone took the time to prepare him to handle himself in an unfair world.

In conclusion, I challenge us today to use the life of Rosa Louise McCauleyParks as an example of what God can do through one person with a made up mind to be a difference maker.

Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House Inter­national Church located, 16711 Ella Blvd. Houston, Texas, 77090. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at or the church website www.ghic. net.