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2.03



It has been 40 years since Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, igniting the Civil Rights Movement. Meanderings is pleased to present the work of Joyce French and Joe Williams, all inspired by the courage and strength shown by Rosa Parks and countless others who struggled for our freedom.

NEVER DOUBT

by Joyce French <french@icpsr.umich.edu>

There are those who would have you believe
    that you aren't good enough.
I heard they said the same thing to Rosa Parks,
    but I know she didn't believe it.
'Cause now you can sit anywhere you want
    on any bus, plane or train.
Never doubt that you are good enough.

Some would like you to think that you
    aren't intelligent.
I guess they don't know what it takes to be
    a person of color in this society.
Never doubt that you are intelligent.

There are those who would have you believe
    that you aren't courageous.
Cesar Chavez, Arthur Ashe...
Need I say more?
Never doubt that you have courage.

Some would like you to think that you aren't creative.
Can you imagine someone suggesting to Toni
    Morrison that she has nothing to say?
Never doubt that you are creative.

There are those who would have you believe
    that you can't survive.
You don't have to look far to know that the
    blood of survivors runs in your veins.
The blood of great-grandparents who survived
    having their lands stripped from them.
The blood of grandparents who survived being locked in
    camps in their own country during World War II.
The blood of parents who survived dogs and fire hoses.
You have a history that should have left
    you bitter and broken, but it didn't.
Never, ever doubt that you are a survivor.

Some would like you to think that
    you can't be successful.
That you can't excel.
I've got one thing to say about that.
In light of all that you have going for you...
Never doubt that you can.
Never doubt that you will.
Never doubt.

Copyright © 1994 by Joyce A. French


Image by Joe Williams

Rosa Parks

Joseph Williams, <74654.1300@compuserve.com>

This graphic is a portion of a larger image in honor of Rosa Parks created by artist Joseph Williams. The entire image is 225k in size and will take awhile to load into your browser. It is, however, quite worth seeing. Click on the image at left to see the entire graphic. We hope to include more of Joe's work in future issues. Let him and us know what you think!


...TO GO ON

by Joyce French <french@icpsr.umich.edu>

When I get weary and worn-out, I try to remember
the Black woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus
    to a White man.
'Cause she was tired and she was tired of being tired.
She must have figured like I do:
    tired is tired no matter what race you are.
But in spite of all that,
    she did what she felt she had to do.

And there's no difference between me and
    the Sioux woman at Wounded Knee.
She tried to save two little girls
    by shielding them with her own body.
It was all she had.
She must have heard like I did:
    there is no greater love than laying
     your life down for another.
But in spite of all that,
    she also did what she felt she had to do.

And then, I think about these women.
And those sacrifices.
Their courage and strength.
Their love.

I've heard the words, upon this rock...
I know how it usually ends,
    but it also ends this way.
Upon the bedrock of the love, faith and hope of my ancestors,
    be they red, brown, yellow or black:
I am anchored.
I am protected.
I am loved.
And, I am strong.

So when I get tired, I think about these women.
And those sacrifices.
And I find the strength
...to go on.

Copyright © 1992 by Joyce A. French


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Meanderings 2.03 -- March 1995