What is Washboard Express?

Washboard Express is a way for me to express my own opinions, to be a provocative gadfly, by writing a "letter a day" to the President. I may miss a day here and there, because sometimes my family with be my first priority, but my goal is to write a total of 365 letters, representing one full year. To say I have opinions about most things would be to understate the obvious. Those of you that know me, know this is true, those who don't know me, will learn that it's true. The Washboard is a reference to going back to basics and "keeping it clean," so if you would like me to post your comments or opinions on this blog, I only ask that you be respectful. So go ahead, express yourself, and I look forward to an exchange of ideas and opinions.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Letter #127... Dear Mr. President... Look Who's driving the Bus Now!

Dear Mr. President:

Rosa Parks
December 1st is an important day in history… this is the day that in the segregated town of Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man and move to the back of the bus.

I remember the marches that followed, lead by Dr. King and I remember one of the most successful boycotts in history when blacks refused to ride the buses for 13 months.

When the Supreme Court upheld Browder v. Gayle, striking down laws requiring segregated seating on public buses, King said, “We came to see that, in the long run, it is more honorable to walk in dignity than ride in humiliation. So …we decided to substitute tired feet for tired souls, and walk the streets of Montgomery.”

I can’t help but feel, that while there have been innumerable laws passed ending the practice of segregation, the minds of many remain unchanged as they cling to the idea that one race is somehow superior to another.

Portrait of Herbert B. Fields
I like to think of the different races as a color pallet, where different colors are mixed to create just the right effect a painter is looking for. Having painted a little myself, I remember trying to paint a portrait of my father from a black and white photo, which was all I had to go by, because he died when he was 50 and I was 20.

Any school child can tell you that you can’t use a white crayon on white paper to represent Caucasians. They can also tell you that the black crayon is way too dark for a Black/African Americans. If you’ve ever painted you know that it takes many colors to represent each ethnicity. Mid-tones require raw sienna and alizarin crimson, neutral tones require cobalt and ultramarine blue, yellow ocher and burnt sienna for a redder complexion and burnt umber for the warm shadows.

The point Mr. President, is this nation and its people are not a box of crayons, we do not stand alone, each of us just one color, we are all a perfect blend of many colors making each of us as distinct and as unique as our finger prints, and yet, the color of our skin continues to divide and separate us as if we were just one color.

Rosa Parks would be proud that you’re now ‘driving the bus’ Mr. President, I think she’d be proud that you choose to ‘walk in dignity’ and choose to see Americans as the wonderfully diverse and colorful pallet that makes up our American culture, for only when we are truly integrated will we truly be free.

As for my father’s portrait… just too many colors… I never did get it right.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
Your Gadfly Granny

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