The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

A Shared Courage

Nov 7, 2005

Rosa Parks speaks in her book of her childhood years, when her mother moved with Rosa and her younger brother to live with her grandparents in rural Pine Level, Alabama. Her grandparents had very different views.

At age 10, when a white boy threatened to punch her as they met along the road, she picked up a brick and dared him to hit her. He backed off and left her alone. Her grandmother scolded her for this, warning her “not to talk to white folks or act that way.” And “not to retaliate if they did something to you.”

But her grandfather, by his actions, strengthened her resolve. As the KKK was “riding through the black community, burning churches and beating up and killing people,” her grandfather kept his double-barreled shotgun close by at all times. He had the children “go to bed with their clothes on to be ready to run if the Klan broke into their house.” She remembers her grandfather saying, “I don’t know how long I would last if they came breaking in here, but I’m getting the first one who comes through the door.”

There were many others like her grandfather throughout the South who would not bow down in fear.