Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Rosa Parks, 1913-2005. $73 Million In Unclaimed Tax Refunds!
Rosa Parks, 1913-2005
Rosa Parks, whose simple act of defiance on a Montgomery, Alabama bus 50 years ago that gave birth to the Civil Rights movement in the Deep South, died yesterday at age 92. Yahoo News AP wire excerpt:
The death of Rosa Parks death underscores that the generation responsible for the key victories of the civil rights movement is fading into history, leaving its survivors with the challenge of keeping the movement's memory and work alive even as today's youth often seem disengaged.
"As people get older and people pass, it becomes more and more difficult to have that sort of firsthand knowledge" of the fight for integration, said U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat who first met Parks as a 17-year-old student and activist. "It becomes a little more difficult to pass it on."
Lewis, who once headed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, added that the social challenges of today — persistent racial gaps in poverty, education and wealth, among others — highlight the continued need for activists and teachers to honor Parks' spirit. "Her life should inspire a generation yet unborn to stand up," he said.
In 1955, Parks was a seamstress and longtime secretary for the local NAACP who defied segregation laws and refused to give up her seat in a whites-only section of a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
Then 42, she inspired tens of thousands of working-class blacks — led by Rev. Martin Luther King — to boycott the local buses for more than a year. Finally, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that declared Montgomery's segregated seating laws unconstitutional. The effort highlighted persistent bias against blacks across the nation.
I don't have anything close to the words to describe the tremendous courage this woman showed the world in that dark time. And lest one thinks that sentence to be hyperbole, please read on...
Parents who were active in the movement say they sense a disconnect when speaking with their children. "I remember my son once said to me, 'Why did you sit in the back of the bus? Why didn't you just go up front?' I said 'I didn't want to get killed,'" said Earl G. Graves Sr., 70, publisher of Black Enterprise Magazine. "He looked at me and blinked."
So for those who think that stories of violent acts against African-Americans were exaggerated, let them chew on that for a while. Unfortunately, it seems to take the passing of an icon like Ms. Parks to remind us of this nation's shameful legacy of racism. At least Ms. Parks lived to see some measure of improvement in the lives of African-Americans, unlike other Civil Rights icons like Dr. King, Malcolm X and Medgar Evers. Their struggle should be a constant reminder to all Americans that the measure of a person is not found in his or her skin color.
IRS Says Unclaimed Tax Refunds Total $73 Million!
This eye-popping headline grabbed my attention. Yahoo News AP wire excerpt:
WASHINGTON - Thousands of people have money sitting at the Internal Revenue Service that could be claimed if they would just tell the tax collectors where they live.
The IRS said Tuesday that $73 million in tax refunds that were sent to taxpayers this year did not reach the destination. In most cases, the post office returned the checks as undeliverable because the taxpayers had moved.
The money belongs to more than 84,000 taxpayers, some of whom have more than one check waiting to be claimed.
Checking on the status of a refund — by calling 1-800-829-4477 or visiting IRS Web site at http://www.irs.gov/ — could be worth $871 to the average taxpayer due an unclaimed refund.
"Our goal is to get this money back in the hands of the people it belongs to," IRS Commissioner Mark Everson said.
That's a hell of a lot of unclaimed tax refund money. Damn! I'm not expecting anything, but I think I'll navigate over to that web site to see if they might have a few Greenspans to toss my way...