To the Editor:
A couple of days ago I read a Feb. 21 Herald article about a house that Rosa Parks once stayed in being put on display by Brown. A March 15 Herald article said the display was being canceled due to a dispute as to how much time she actually spent in the home. Ironically, I am fighting to save a home in Camden, New Jersey that Martin Luther King, Jr. once stayed in as well, and the same type of argument is being made by the state’s historic preservation office to deny the property’s significance. Here, we have two of the most recognized figures of the civil rights movement, both pivotal figures in the formation of our nation, yet both properties are being unfairly scrutinized. To offer some context: In New Jersey we have dozens of properties that are on the National Register of Historic Places that are connected to George Washington, some where he only stayed a night, but yet they have been declared to be significant to the history of our nation. Clearly there is a double standard at play here.
Rosa Parks’s decision to not move on that bus was just as powerful as the shot that was heard around the world, and her memory should be honored in Alabama, Detroit, Michigan and all over the world. I find it ironic that Brown has asked Ryan Mendoza to move the house after it has already started to be built because in a sense, the house has now taken its seat. Rosa Parks was told that she was not significant enough for that seat, but she refused to move, and that changed the course of our nation. We are in desperate need in this nation for another shift in our paradigm and for a national conversation about our past and how we make a better future, so please Mr. Mendoza, do not give up your seat.