The Purple Rose
By Jonah Sanders

As awkward as it may sound, especially with all of the attention that I’ve received in my life, but my earlier years stick out to me the most. Born and raised when the social climate was unbalanced due to the prejudice and hatred of the white man, I could never truly understand why I was hated. I remember hearing older negro’s talk about the Bible and how God was so just, but I couldn’t fathom why people who looked like me get treated as if we were subhuman. There were times when I saw whites look at negro’s as if we were…spawns of the devil.
Anywho, I saw pain and frustration in those early years. I’ve wondered why people have placed me on a higher standing than my peers when we all faced the oppression all the days of our lives. I have never been naive to believe that I was the first negro to refuse to give up their seat on the bus and often remark at how others before me have either been ignored or forgotten. If one really wanted to know the whole truth, on the day that I was placed in history as a civil rights activist, I was just tired. I had been on my feet all day ripping and running and here comes some white man talking about I needed to give up my seat. Ha! He had to have lost his mind. Now don’t get me wrong, I was tired of the injustice that was being placed on me and know that day I would have refused all the same if I wasn’t physically tired. Could you imagine going your entire life being prejudiced against for no other reason but the color of your skin?
I’ll say that God works in mysterious ways and that all things come at the prescribed time. That was just my time to stand up for myself. At first I didn’t see myself doing anything for my people, just for myself. I learned ass child that if you didn’t stand up for anything that you would fall for all the nonsense of the world and once I grasped my own respect I looked to see what I could do for others. I remember like it was yesterday when I was arrested and having the feel of the cold handcuffs placed around my wrist; it was a glorious feeling because I knew that if I died then that I would have died with integrity. Sadly as it may be, some say that the only reason that I even got the attention I received was because I was pretty. As the young people say, “ Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” The time was just ordained by God to bring on a change and I was just used by Him. I claim not to be a hero, but a woman who just wished to be respected as a human. I am flattered that you even speak of my story, but even if I was erased from those books I just pray that you remember and respect those who stood up and fought for justice for all people. Your life is no more different than mine for we are all miracles waiting to happen.

Asked question January 27, 2023