The Fable of Mug Shot 7053
A couple of weeks ago, I shared this New York Times article on Rosa Parks in a faculty meeting. The article itself is fascinating, with lots of fodder for good conversation. It unpacks the popular myth of Rosa Parks and her famous refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus – the myth that a meek, tired seamstress was too exhausted to walk to the back of the bus and accidentally started a movement that changed civil rights.
In reality, Rosa Parks had been an activist fighting for racial justice for decades before her bus stand. Though the word “quiet” was used in most of the obituaries that ran after her 2005 death, she was anything but.
The fable of Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement of the time betrays the reality, pain, and sacrifice, and down plays how resistant Americans were, and often still are, to change that challenges the status quo.
As educators, we used this article to examine the fables and myths we have heard, and those we have perpetuated. From Christopher Columbus to “American Exceptionalism,” we owe it to our students, to ourselves, and to our society to take a closer look at what and how we are teaching.
When you have the time, I encourage you to take a few minutes to read the New York Times piece – what fables do you know?