“Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 to October 24, 2005) was an African-American civil rights activist, whom the U.S. Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”. Her birthday, February 4, and the day she was arrested, December 1, have both become Rosa Parks Day, commemorated in the U.S. states of California and Ohio.
On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake’s order that she give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation. Others had taken similar steps in the twentieth century, including Irene Morgan in 1946, Sarah Louise Keys in 1955, and the members of the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit (Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith) arrested months before Parks. NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws though eventually her case became bogged down in the state courts.
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 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement.
On June 10, 1940, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., publisher, entrepreneur, orator, and Black Nationalist, died. Garvey was born August 17, 1887 in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. In 1914, Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association, “To unite all people of African ancestry of the world to one great body to establish a country and absolute government of their own.”Garvey moved to New York City in 1916 and founded the Negro World newspaper. In June, 1923, Garvey was unjustly convicted of mail fraud and sentenced to five years in prison. That sentence was commuted by President Calvin Coolidge and Garvey was released in November, 1927 and deported to Jamaica where he is interred at a shrine inNational Heroes Park. There are memorials to Garvey around the world, including statues and streets and schools named after him in Jamaica, Trinidad, the United States, Canada, Kenya, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom. A number of books have been published about Garvey and his movement, including “Black Power and the Garvey Movement” (1971), “Marcus Garvey: Anti-Colonial Champion” (1988), and “Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey and his Dream of Mother Africa” (2008).http://theburtonwire.com/2013/06/10/politics/akosua-report-marcus-garvey/
Huey Newton was born in a small town in Louisiana and later moving with his family to Oakland, California as an infant, Huey P. Newton became the co-founder and leader of the Black Panther Party for over 2 decades. Dr. Newton, who founded the Black Panther Party with Bobby Seale, became one of the most charismatic symbols of black anger in the late 1960’s. After his conviction in 1967 in the death of an Oakland police officer, radicals and many college students took up the rallying cry ”Free Huey.” At the same time, Dr. Newton and the Black Panthers were accused of being controlled by the Communist Party and were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In recent years Dr. Newton continued to face numerous legal charges, served time in jail and fought to rehabilitate himself from alcohol and drug abuse. Newton Co-founding The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (later shortened to The Black Panther Party) with Bobby Seale in 1966, Newton and his compatriots were known for their strong leftist politics, all-black garb and sound intellectual debate. Beyond the activism and fight for equality for African-Americans, the Panthers also started “survival programs” designed to assist the less fortunate such as meal programs, self-defense classes, medical clinics and first aid. The original Black Panthers would largely dissolve the organization in 1982.