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Rosa Parks - Beyond The Bus

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Sixty-eight years ago on December 1, 1955, Mrs.Rosa Parks rejected a bus driver's order to leave a row of four seats in the "colored" section and move to the back of the bus. Her defiance and subsequent arrest sparked a successful boycott of buses in Montgomery a few days later; a pivotal event in the civil rights movement that ultimately led to the dismantling of Jim Crow segregation. Mrs. Parks became an icon of the movement, celebrated for this single courageous act of civil disobedience.

"There was much more to Mrs. Parks than the seat she refused to relinquish on "that" bus. By profession she was a seamstress. Her stitching was delicate and precise; she made beautiful clothes. But in the bigger picture, she sewed pieces of people's lives together throughout the world and lifted them up with tenacity, hope, and pure love.                                                                                                                                                                    H.H. Leonards

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Mrs. Parks and H. H. Leonards
Noah Griffin
H.H. Leonards is best known as founder of the O Street Mansion and O Street Museum in the heart of Washington D. C. , sanctuaries where guests learn from one another and foster the development of the creative process and the human spirit. 
Perhaps less known is the fascinating story of Rosa Parks' 10 years living at the O Street Mansion from 1994 to 2004.  H. Leonards’ book is a collection of personal stories compiled from their years of friendship and Mrs. Parks’ residency. During those years, Leonards came to know the woman beyond the historic act of defiance. Leonards uses the book as a forum to share her remembrances, both wonderful and somber, in a way that offers readers a rare look into Mrs. Parks’ life, her thoughts, beliefs, and immense wisdom.
Noah Griffin Jr., is a San Francisco native and has served local and national communities throughout his career in various capacities, including as a historian, writer, newspaper columnist, radio and television talk-show host, law editor, press secretary, campaign manager, lyricist and vocalist.

Following in the footsteps of his father, an early civil-rights pioneer, Griffin attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he sang with the famed Fisk Jubilee Singers. He received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Fisk in 1967 and a law degree from Harvard Law in 1970, and was a history fellow at Yale University. 

Griffin and his wife, Meredith Browning Griffin, reside in California and share five grown children.

The Mansion was Mrs. Parks' home-away-from-home where I visited with her many, many times. Mrs. Leonards' book opens doors into the innermost thoughts of Mrs. Parks - sometimes sad, sometimes joyful, but always insightful.                                   The Reverend Jesse Jackson, American Activist
THE SAINT HELENA FORUM FOR INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY, a 501(c)3 educational non-profit, is produced entirely by volunteers drawn from a cross section of Napa Valley residents.

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