With 10 days left in Black History Month, I thought I’d discuss a destination associated with Civil Rights icon, Rosa Parks. I had the pleasure of meeting her years ago, while on assignment for CNN. I interviewed her in Montgomery, Alabama during the 40th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. When I imagined her saying “NO!” as she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger in 1955, I thought she’d have this big, powerful voice. However when I met her, she was extremely soft-spoken. It confirmed to me that you don’t have to scream to leave your mark in this world.
After interviewing Ms. Parks about her role in the Civil Rights Movement, I was able to tour the actual bus where, at 42, she made her powerful stand by staying seated. I can’t begin to tell you the emotions I felt sitting in the actual seat where Parks sat. A few years later, I traveled to Montgomery again to tour the new Rosa Parks Museum. It’s constructed on the site of the old Empire Theatre where the bus was stopped when Parks was arrested. The museum takes visitors back to the Jim Crow era with interactive exhibits that include: a replica of the bus Parks sat on, original photos of Parks being arrested and finger-printed, and film of church meetings planning the boycott. For more information visit the Rosa Parks Museum website.
And for more female inspiration during your travels, visit monuments and museums to the following women warriors…
- Mother Teresa: Visit the memorial room/museum in Mother Teresa’s hometown of Skopje, Republic of Macedonia. See a statue and plaque honoring her devotion to the poor, along with relics of her life and a model of her family home.
- Josephine Baker: This famous entertainer was a U.S. Civil Rights activist and spy for the French Resistance during WWII. See her star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. And take a tour of Josephine Baker’s Paris, through Discover Paris!
- Susan B. Anthony: Visit the home/museum in Rochester, N.Y. which tells the story of Anthony’s life-long fight for women’s voting rights and equal rights for women. It is where she was arrested for voting in 1872.
Kalin Thomas is Women at Forty’s Travel & Leisure Editor. She is also Senior Writer/Photographer for SoulOfAmerica. Before starting her own multimedia company, Kalin spent 17 years at CNN where she won several awards for her work as producer/correspondent for CNN’s weekly travel program, CNN TravelNow. She is currently writing a book about her travels. For more information on Kalin, go to www.seetheworldproductions.com.