NAACP Houston Condemns CM Kubosh Reference of Rosa Parks
Style Magazine Newswire | 4/27/2020, 3:03 p.m.
Recent statements by Houston City Councilmember Michael Kubosh have deeply grieved the hearts and offended many African Americans. Others who are sensitive to the history of African Americans in this country are also disturbed. Even though 1619 is often given as the date of arrival of the first African slaves in what is now the United States of America, history tells us there were actually African slaves in this country as early as the 1500’s. No matter which one of these dates you believe to be true, we do know that the American slaves from Africa and their descendants remained in bondage in this country for over 200 years. It was not until President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which stated “that all persons held as slaves within the rebellious states are and henceforward shall be free”. The Emancipation was just another step towards freedom and equality on the long road to full participation of African Americans in this society.
Even though this discourse is not intended to be a history lesson, it is a lesson in white racism and American politics. For white America, even after the adoption of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution which supposedly ended racial inequality in America, quickly adopted black laws and created a racially segregated society which would last until 1954 with the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. This decision by the Supreme Court was the next big step in the fight for equality by African Americans.
Brown was the beginning of a fight; but it definitely was not the end. For less than a year later in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks was arrested because she refused to give up her seat in the colored section of a bus to a white passenger after the white only section was filled. Ms. Parks’ arrest led to a more than year-long boycott by African Americans of the Montgomery bus system. Rosa Parks is often called the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, because the person selected to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who would use this boycott to launch the African American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Rosa Parks has a special place in the heart of African Americans because her refusal to stand helped lead to the freedoms we had been fighting for almost 400 years.
During the last 24 hours, my heart has been heavy, or should I say a number of African American hearts have been heavy because one of our elected officials, Michael Kubosh, misused the name of Rosa Parks in criticizing the Harris County stay at home order. People of “all races” are having to stay at home for the purpose of saving lives. This action should in no way be compared to Rosa Parks’ refusal to stand, especially when this pandemic once again highlights the racial inequality in this country. The Corona virus underscores the tremendous health disparity in this country where African Americans are dying at two to three times the rate of white Americans. I’m not saying that white Americans don’t have the right to practice civil disobedience, every American has that right; but not the right to compare a loss of some freedom of movement for a month or two or even six months for the purpose of saving human lives to that of the African Americans fight for equality that has lasted for almost 400 years. The statement by Councilmember Kubosh is just another example of white America’s misunderstanding of its own racist policies and how these policies have had a negative affect on a large segment of American society.
As Branch President of the NAACP Houston Branch and with the full support of its Officers, Executive Committee and Membership, we condemn the insensitive and inflammatory remarks by Councilmember Kubosh; and we’re calling on the councilmember to retract his remarks with an apology, both verbally and in writing.
James M. Douglas
Branch President NAACP Houston Branch