Event honors Parks

Published 1:34 am Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rev. Joseph Rembert Sr. believes it is so important for his seventh grade students to learn about Rosa Parks, he’s offering extra credit to attend a Rosa Parks celebration Sunday.

“Today, as the bell rang, I asked them to tell me something about Rosa Parks,” Rembert said. “The only thing they could tell me is that she was the lady who got arrested because she wouldn’t give up her seat. There’s just so much more to Mrs. Parks than that one incident.”

Rosa Parks

Rembert and the New Beginnings Christian Center will host an event to honor Rosa Parks on Sunday, Oct. 24, the fifth anniversary of her death, at Larry D. Striplin Jr. Performing Arts Centre.

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“It’s an opportunity for us to celebrate the legacy and the life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, who meant so much, not only to this country, but to the world,” Rembert said.

Parks is most known for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery in 1955 in the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.

But, Rembert knows Parks is much more than this incident.

“Even if she had never sat on a bus, you would know you had been around one of God’s angels,” Rembert said. “She was just a sweet person. I got to love her like I would my own mother.”

She was a dedicated member of her church, St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Montgomery, where Rembert served as pastor from 1996 until 2007.

He and Parks first met in 1989 when she visited Selma and he was the pastor of Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church, and became friends as the two worked with a team to complete the Rosa Parks Library and Museum at Troy State University.

“She just had the courage to do the right thing,” Rembert said. “I believe when people do the right thing, it doesn’t matter who you are or what color you are, if you just do the right thing it’s all going to work out.”

Rembert was also one of the pastors presiding over Parks’ funeral.

Rev. Farrell J. Duncombe, current pastor of St. Paul A.M.E. Church, will speak at the event Sunday. His father was the pastor of the church at the time of Parks’ arrest.

Parks also has a connection to Selma because her mother, Leona Edwards, attended school at Daniel Payne College in Selma and was a member of Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church. Edwards moved to Tuskegee where Parks was born.

“This is one lady that I believe all of us can appreciate,” Rembert said. “She stood up for justice, and justice isn’t about just us. It’s about all of us.”

Rembert served as pastor of Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church from 1980 until 1993, pastor of Jones Chapel A.M.E. in Fairfield from 1993 until 1996, pastor of St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Montgomery from 1996 until 2007 and pastor of New Beginnings Christian Center from 2008 until present.

The commemoration will begin at 3 p.m. at the Larry D. Striplin Jr. Performing Arts Centre.