Rosa Parks' Experience with Firearms
The Washington Post, no less, discusses Park's private papers and what they tell about guns.
"When Rosa Parks was a little girl in rural Alabama, she would stay up at night, keeping watch with her grandfather as he stood guard with a shotgun against marauding members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Klansmen often terrorized black communities in the early 1900s, and Parks's grandfather, Sylvester Edwards, the son of a white plantation owner, had their house boarded up for protection.
But Parks longed for a showdown.
"I wanted to see him kill a Ku-Kluxer," the renowned civil rights leader wrote in a brief biographical sketch years later. "He declared that the first to invade our home would surely die.""
. . . . .
"Adrienne Cannon, an African American history and culture specialist at the library, said parts of the handwritten sketch do not appear in her published autobiography, "Rosa Parks: My Story."
The book is Parks's "public image," Cannon said.
The sketch is "Rosa with her hair down," she said. "She's 6 years old . . . waiting for Grandpa to kill a Ku-Kluxer. This is the real deal. This tells you how she had the strength and determination to do what she did.""
The difference between her private notes and her public autobio reinforces what Nick Johnson relates in his book Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms": for most of the civil rights period, those involved used firearms unabashedly. Very late in the process, the leadership of civil rights groups became concerned that groups like the Black Panthers were damaging their brand, and so swept all that under the carpet.