The Silence of the Masses…

The Silence of the Masses…

Imagine, if you can, walking to your place of employment. Every day. For 381 consecutive days. Rain, hail, sleet or snow. No, this is not an advertisement for a mail carrier position with the postal service. This is so much bigger than that.

Beginning on December 5, 1955, the Black men and women, boys and girls of Montgomery, Alabama set out to make the case that they should be allowed to sit in any seat, front or back, on the buses in their city. They had been preparing for this for some time. As had Ms. Rosa Parks, whom also had been chosen and prepared to refuse to move to the back of the bus only four days earlier.

And of all of the people who made that historic achievement possible, the only name we know of, and hold dear, is that of Ms. Parks. The real power of that movement was made possible by the masses of courageous and unnamed, but not forgotten, warriors.

I would have to believe that many of those who had attended meetings, in private homes and local churches, could not fully comprehend that what they had been planning would actually succeed. The seeds of doubt, fear and loss of income, or worse, life itself, must have kept many of them awake each night as the December 5th date approached.

Who among us today would not have been afraid? Hell, how many of us today are unwilling to sacrifice a few hours of pay to go vote? Even when it is something your employer cannot withhold pay for your participation. How many of us are reluctant in serving as a juror? Yet, we are quick to rail against an unfair verdict handed down by a jury of peers that do not fully resemble your community?

This year, this fear, must be crushed.

We are at a time that will, just like 1955, be recorded today, and remembered tomorrow and beyond, by those who are yet unborn. Will they view us as brave liberators, who were unafraid of the backlash from the media and of our “good jobs?” Will they compare us to those brave souls who never gave in to their fears…in Montgomery, for 381 consecutive days, or we will be remembered for our continued apathy in the face of an amoral police and judicial system that placed no value on the lives of Black men and women?

My heart and soul sings praise, and gives honor, to those who, on December 20, 1956 put their coins in those bus turnstiles and sat down any damn where they pleased. To them, we owe a debt of gratitude. For them we MUST now do our part.

Because of them we must remain silent no more.


Rosa Parks seated toward the front of the bus, Montgomery, Alabama, 1956. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

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