Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Irene Morgan Kirkaldy
Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, a black woman whose refusal to give up her bus seat to white passengers triggered a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision more than a decade before Rosa Parks gained recognition for doing the same, died. She was 90.
Kirkaldy died Friday at her daughter's home, said Fred Carter, director of Carter Funeral Home in Newport News.
Kirkaldy, born Irene Morgan in Baltimore in 1917, was arrested in 1944 for refusing to give up her seat on a Greyhound bus heading from Gloucester to Baltimore, and for resisting arrest. Her case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court by an NAACP lawyer named Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first black justice on the high court. The case resulted in a 1946 decision striking down Jim Crow segregation in interstate transportation.
At the time, the case received little attention, but it paved the way for Parks' famous stand on a local bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955.
Kirkaldy also inspired the first Freedom Ride in 1947, when 16 civil rights activists rode buses and trains through the South to test the law enunciated in her Supreme Court case.
In 2001, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Citizens Medal - the second highest civilian honor in the United States. - Article furnished by AOL Black Voices
Why hadn't I heard of this lady before now? Even though she chose to live her life in anonymity, it seems as if I would have learned about her in the history books, especially US history. But you know, the people who are credited with being the first at anything are not usually the first to have done a thing. From being a major force behind changing US law, to discovery and invention, to concepts and ideas, there is always an unknown forerunner who lead the way. She was as important to the Civil Rights Movement as Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr themselves. And it was one of her life's purposes to set the stage years earlier to get that ball rolling in the right direction.
I'm feeling somewhat inspired right now, but not in the most obvious way. I'm feeling inspired on the entrepreneurial front. Although every voice is unique, nothing is new under the sun. So whether you have a strong belief or take a stand for something that is different from the norm, or have an idea for something new - a product, a business concept, whatever...that initial seed of thought is inspiration. And inspiration, even though some may not think, has an external source...a source bigger than the person. So do something with it! If you don't, someone else will. And you'll be standing right there in the same place you were yesteryear, thinking about how you thought of it first.
Thanks Mrs. Kirkaldy!
Rest in Peace.
And to all my readers,
Peace, Love, Light & Success,
Read her story here