“It is still more likely that a woman’s power would be seen as aggression, and a man’s power would be seen as assertion. A person has the right, and I think the responsibility, to develop all of their talents. And if part of that talent is leadership, then I think that should be applauded, rather than questioned — or have it be said, ‘That person is acting too much like a man.’”—Jessye Norman, Opera Singer
NEW YORK (AP) — Long before Rosa Parks was hailed as the “mother of the civil rights movement,” she wrote a detailed and harrowing account of nearly being raped by a white neighbor who employed her as a housekeeper in 1931.
The six-page essay, written in her own hand many years after the incident, is among thousands of her personal items currently residing in the Manhattan warehouse and cramped offices of Guernsey’s Auctioneers, which has been selected by a Michigan court to find an institution to buy and preserve the complete archive.
Civil rights historian Danielle McGuire said she had never before heard of the attempted rape of Parks and called the find among Parks’ papers astounding.
It helps explain what triggered Parks’ lifelong campaign against the ritualistic rape of black women by white men, said McGuire, whose recent book “At the Dark End of the Street” examines how economic intimidation and sexual violence were used to derail the freedom movement and how it went unpunished during the Jim Crow era.
“I thought it was because of the stories that she had heard. But this gives a much more personal context to that,” said McGuire, an assistant professor of history at Wayne State University in Detroit. Her book recounts Parks’ role in investigating for the NAACP the case of Recy Taylor, a young sharecropper raped by a group of white men in 1944.
Of her own experience, Parks wrote, “He offered me a drink of whiskey, which I promptly and vehemently refused. . He moved nearer to me and put his hand on my waist. I was very frightened by now.”
“He liked me. .. he didn’t want me to be lonely and would I be sweet to him. He had money to give me for accepting his attentions,” she wrote.
“I was ready to die but give my consent never. Never, never.”
Most people know the story of Parks, a black, middle-aged seamstress who refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955. Guernsey’s President Arlan Ettinger said her personal papers reveal a much more complex individual, one who spent a lifetime fighting for racial equality and against the sexual violence of black women…
one of the young girls in the clay class i’m teaching, was making a piece, a sort of bowl shaped object with a handle almost like a basket, and it had little punctures on the handle, and tiny little things going on inside, and she was using a cheese shredder and a blow dryer and adding all sorts of pieces to it, and i don’t even know what it was she was making to be honest. she was very busy at work. but it looks good i thought when i saw it, it looks intriguing, i thought - “a work of art” in and of itself. i asked her about it, she said “i’m calling it ‘the sea of imagination” she said with such confidence. the sea of imagination? i asked. “the sea of imagination,” she said again smiling. i asked her if she could expand on that. and she did. and she smiled wider as she talked. and the piece made sense in all it’s complexity. i think that is brilliant. i think these students, are brilliant.
the sea of imagination.
i found this quote-
“This world is but a canvas to our imaginations.” - Henry David Thoreau
“The mere presence of human feeling doesn’t guarantee that those feelings are benevolent. Even that state that we think of as the finest expression of the human spirit - love - can be tormented as well as powerfully exultant. So one has to be wary of assuming that just because emotion has been drained away, the machine is now lifeless. It may be that we thrive when certain of our relationships are drained of emotion, that we may then be able to explore our lives more fully, because emotions tend to act as a brake. They reinforce the status quo. They set up a kind of tyranny rather like the psychology of a very small child, which may be entirely governed by passionate emotions that are in fact very limiting. It’s only when the child learns to control its emotions that he can begin to explore all sorts of interesting possibilities at the other end of the nursery.”—J.G. Ballard in Frieze Magazine