"When that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night."
So said the eminent Rosa Parks, laying an element of the poetic upon her famous refusal to give up her bus seat to a white person, leading to the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955-1956, a landmark civil rights victory, and lasting legacy of peaceable protest.
The Robert L.F. Sikes Public Library is currently putting on a modest display titled, "An Ode to Black History Month: A Display in Memory of Rosa Parks." The display includes a cutout replica of the eponymous Montgomery bus with a cutout homage to Mrs. Parks. Behind the bus cutout, two retro benches are decked out with historical briefs, detailing the powerful events of the boycott.
A board displays works by local poets, capturing the poignancy of the subject in moving and timely verse. Likewise, the front display contains selections from the library for check-out, including material for children.
Bolstered by the resonance of black history from seminal figures like W.E.B. DuBois and Frederick Douglass, the display comprises many modern selections, such as [Barack] Obama’s "The Audacity of Hope" and works by award-winning authors Kadir Nelson and Walter Dean Myers.
Margot Lee Shetterly’s "Hidden Figures" is front and center, circulating the amazing story of the black women of the 1930s-1960s NASA program. Many a Coretta Scott King Award winner also lines the display.
The Crestview Library invites you to take a look at a vibrant past, a hopeful present and take part in the building of a brighter future.
In the words of Rosa herself, "Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others."
Emily Ruff is the Crestview Public Library's adult services librarian.