Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rosa Parks loved to watch the boats

I just finished reading Rosa Parks by Douglas Brinkley.  It is a moving account of the life of Rosa Parks who is noted for starting the civil rights movement in the United States by refusing to give up her seat on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama to a white person.  But the Rosa Parks story has much more to it than that one incident.  I highly recommend Brinkley's book.

But in the last years of Rosa Park's life, she moved to an apartment in Detroit overlooking the Detroit River.  It was there that she developed a love of boat watching.  As a boatwatcher myself, I was excited to read of Park's love of seeing Great Lakes freighters pass by her house.  I feel the same pleasure watching the boats pass our cabin here on the St. Marys River.

Here is the quote from Rosa Parks by Douglas Brinkley.

"From twenty-five stories about it, the world looked tranquil to a recuperating Parks as the huge Lake Huron barges drifted calmly down the Detroit River bearing tons of iron ore to unload at the industrial docks of Toledo and on over Lake Erie at Cleveland.  Every morning she propped herself up in bed and bed inspirational passages from her large-print King James Bible.  After rising she made a modest breakfast, downed vitamin supplements, did a round of light calisthenics, positioned herself at the river-view window of her apartment, and stared out trace like at the majestic span of the Ambassador Bridge to Canada.  Whenever a Great Lakes cruise ship floated past, Parks imagined how happy the passengers were and smiled wistfully, wishing Raymond were still alive to savor the spectacular view with her.  "Oh, look at that one," she would exclaim to guest at each freighter and tanker in a soft voice full of girlish delight."

 So boatwatchers, we can add Rosa Parks to our list of people hooked by watching the giant freighters going up and down the waterways of Michigan.  It is a hobby and a love that can be shared by anyone who has the opportunity to gaze out on one of the water highways that we are so blessed with her in Michigan.  Enjoy!