Rosa Parks' Statue Would Have Embarrassed Her

But, says Parks biographer Douglas Brinkley at The Root DC, the self-deprecating civil rights hero would be perturbed that President Obama has yet to issue an executive order to create the Harriet Tubman National Monument.

Posted:
 
parksstatue_22813_575se
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

But, says Parks biographer Douglas Brinkley at The Root DC, the self-deprecating civil rights hero would be perturbed that President Obama has yet to issue an executive order to create the Harriet Tubman National Monument.

Gazing across the Detroit River and the skyline of Windsor, Ontario from a high-rise condominium in downtown Detroit, Rosa Parks often spoke about how the Underground Railroad heroically ran slaves into Canada.

"That's where Harriet Tubman found freedom", she told me one afternoon when I was working on my 2000 biography Rosa Parks: A Life. I was surprised at how encyclopedic Parks was about Tubman and how frustrated she was that the brave conductor of the Underground Railroad and early champion of women rights had been marginalized in history textbooks.

On Wednesday, President Obama spoke at the unveiling of a bronze statue of Parks on a black granite pedestal in Statuary Hall.

Mrs. Parks would have been more embarrassed than flattered. She was an extremely self-deprecating woman. What would have truly perturbed her was that Obama has yet to issue an executive order to create the Harriet Tubman National Monument. The paperwork is ready. It just needs the president's signature.

Mrs. Parks enjoyed noting that she was born in February 1913 and Tubman died just a month later in March.

Read Douglas Brinkley's entire piece at The Root DC.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.