Today the kids and I enjoyed a musical called Walk On: The Story of Rosa Parks, put on by a six-member cast visiting the University of Northern Iowa. The Gallagher-Bluedorn has a theatre program with one-dollar productions for kids, and we have been to many.
The play’s message is that Parks’s bus protest was not an isolated event, but rather the high point of a whole life lived with purpose. Parks had joined the NAACP, she had worked for black voter rights, and she had attended a Tennessee school that trained racially-integrated activists for protest. She also was aware that Montgomery activists were looking for a chance to stage a boycott. The play shows her advocating for herself, but also growing as she learned from others.
The key, from my perspective: when the moment arose to do great good, Parks was ready. It reinforces that our young lives (and adult lives too!) are not just about educating our minds, but about growing in character, and becoming the people we want to be. And of course, the play helps the kids see a bit of what racial injustice has been like in our country, and what courageous people have done to move our nation closer to our ideals. I was so glad to have the opportunity to go.