WXYZ Detroit - On Monday, February 4, civil rights icon Rosa Parks and two Southeast Michigan venues will be in the national spotlight. Both events promise to be fitting tributes to a soft-spoken, humble, and courageous woman who did so much for so many.
The historic activities kickoff with a breakfast, live radio broadcast, and commemorative stamp unveiling program at Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History for what would have been Mrs. Parks 100 birthday. I will have the honor of serving as Master of Ceremonies with WCHB (1200 am) talk show host Mildred Gaddis. The official stamp ceremony begins at 7:30 am and is open to the public.
Organizers from the United States Postal Service and the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development have kept details of the early morning program close to the vest. But I got a sneak peek and all I can tell you is that the program will be a powerful tribute to the life and legacy of Mrs. Parks. Most importantly, those involved will serve as important reminders that once she left Alabama, Mrs. Parks spent the rest of her life living and working in the City of Detroit.
Later in the morning, around 10:00 am, the centennial celebration for Mrs. Parks shifts to the Henry Ford in Dearborn, the proud home of the historic city bus Mrs. Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955. The all day activities at the Henry Ford will include notable speakers, choirs, panel discussions and theater performers.
If Mrs. Parks were still alive, she would in her own quiet way be very appreciative of Detroit and Dearborn sharing the stage for this historic commemoration. Rosa Parks was never one to seek media attention for herself. But she fully understood why it is important to stand up for equal rights. How well I can remember sitting and talking with her at Detroit Metro Airport more than 20 years ago as she waited to board a fight to Montgomery, Alabama. She had agreed to let WXYZ "Action News" take her back to where the modern civil rights movement began. She was a walking history book and she accepted her fame with great humility and dignity. The unveiling of her commemorative stamp further cements her legacy!