Rosa Parks has died, aged 92 – she was the woman who on Dec 1st 1955 refused to move on a bus to the black seats, and her actions sparked the bus boycott that galvanised the entire civil rights movement in America. A truly amazing and remarkable action. I’ve no idea if she was a remarkable woman in the rest of her life – all the eulogies will probably say she was either way, though it’s a shame that ordinary people are so rarely allowed to do extraordinary things.
Which is a shame – there’s something in Rosa’s actions that should inspire us all – she was just a regular woman who had had enough. She wasn’t part of a planned assault on the bus boycott, she just wanted to sit down. She acted with strength of character, at considerable personal risk, and the chain of events she set of changed the course of American history. But she was probably just a regular woman. And that’s the magic of it. People like that are what Soren Kierkegaard described as ‘knights of faith’ – ordinary people living extraordinary lives. There’s nothing remarkable about them save the choices they make.by