Rosa Parks.

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Rosa Parks was born 4 February 1913. I think it’s amazing that she was born the same year as my grandma. She was a seamstress and served as  secretary of the Montgomery, Alabama branch of the NAACP, where she investigated cases of sexual assault.  She  agreed to participate in direct action in protest against bus segregation specifically and Jim Crow laws more generally in the US South and West, and was one of a number of people willing to be arrested for refusing to allow a white person to take her seat on the bus.  Her age, demeanour, and role in the NAACP allowed her and the other organisers to fully capitalise on the media opportunities and leverage provided by her arrest and detainment, and there was overwhelming participation and national support for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which began the day of her trial, as a result. The  boycott lasted over a year, the Supreme Court ruled bus segregation unconstitutional, and it was a pivotal event in the national civil rights movement. Rosa Parks went on to work in politics and lobby for human rights in the US and abroad. The US Postal System is honouring her with a first class stamp – it’s what they call a ‘Forever Stamp’. It’ll be one of those stamps like we have in the UK where it’s always worth whatever a first class stamp costs, because  social justice never goes out of style.  You can use the stamps if you’re writing to lobby senators and congresspeople. If you live outside the US, why not create some civil rights mail art?

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