It’s Black History Month and Grady has to do a report on Rosa Parks. I’m not gonna lie – I’ve been dreading this project because Grady has no concept of racism or segregation. I knew it was going to make him pretty upset.
Me: Ok, so Grady let’s talk about Rosa Parks. She was a really cool African American woman. Do you know what that means?
Grady: Ummm, no.
Me: Well, if you’re African American, that means you have black skin.You know how some people have darker skin than you?
Grady: Yeah, mom. Most people have darker skin than me.
Me: So years ago, African Americans weren’t treated equally. They couldn’t go to school with white people or drink from the same water fountains or sit next to each other on the bus.
Grady: That’s weird.
Me: I know, right? Well, one day Rosa Parks decided it wasn’t ok so she sat in a white person’s seat on the bus.
Grady: So she was brave?
Me: Yes! She was a brave woman.
Great. This was going really well. He’s totally ok.
Me: Ok, so we need to write down her date of birth.
(He writes “Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913.”)
Me: And we need to write the day she died.
Grady: She DIED? Oh God. Why? What happened?
Me: It’s ok. It was natural causes. She was very old.
Grady: You’re very old! Are you going to die?
Me: No. I’m not that old, Grady. I’m not going to die.
Grady: Ugh, forget it. I can’t write about this. I’m so upset.
So I wrote the word “died” for him and let him take a few hours to digest the news.
Later on, before bed, I grabbed the Rosa Parks book so we could read more about her life.
Grady: Mom, I don’t think I can handle this. Can we just read something fiction?