The Oldest Living Person of The Civil Rights Movement: The Unknown Parks

“The best way to solve any problem is to remove its cause.” Martin Luther King Jr., Stride Towards Freedom 1964.

Mrs. Dollie Parks remains completely unknown by newspapers, TV reporters and most of the world, even in the Civil Rights Movement.

I am fortunate to break this very important news to you about a woman who has lived an absolutely unbelievable life. The woman you will soon read about is strong, kind, intelligent and clear headed – especially so for someone of this age.

Still full of spark and spunk, it’s hard to believe that Mrs. Dollie Parks is the last living survivor of the Civil Rights movement. She is an unsung hero and a testament to the heart of the strong-willed African American legacy.

This centenarian turns 108 years old on August 23. It will be impossible for us to do her life story justice as there are too many world events that she has passed through during her Marathon life span. It’s hard to imagine that she’s been around from World War 1 to the Iraq War. Her thoughts are clear and her memory recall phenomenal.

She often talks about past events that happened some sixty years ago, still recalling the days of the week during which the events happened. Most people of our generation have trouble keeping up with what month and sometimes the year something occurred.

Parks is the lone daughter, out surviving seven brothers and eight sisters. Her mother, Lily Willson Ghaston. died in 1951 and her father died in 1949. His name was Aaron Wilson. It was quite wonderful listening to her describe events from nearly three quarters of a century ago as if she was locked in history. She described how they used to make a game out of memorizing the name of a person so that the recall was easy and rhythmic.

In describing how they used to spell her father’s first name Aaron She said, “white folks used to spell his name, Little “a” Big “A” jumped over the little “a” and run.” That’s how they used to spell her fathers name Aaron meaning that the little “a” in his name had jumped over the Big “A” in his name and then run leaving us with the “ron” at the end of the name.

Her father often struggled to make ends meet but he was a dedicated hard worker. In order to secure a roof over his family’s head, he paid four bales of cotton for rent during a time when bartering was an acceptable way to do business.

Mrs. Parks described that there were hospitals for some but that her sisters and brothers did not enjoy that privilege as they were all born at home with the help of a midwife. In some of the deliveries she even helped out with some of the simple things a child could do like boil water.

Hardship was a way of life for her family most of the time, as she talked often about her brothers who were out of work trying to live for free off of other family members. Parks mentioned at least twice the experience of a dark year when they only had $9.00 to divide among three people. She spoke of being an eye witness to lynching of Blacks as a common event she saw with enough frequency that she talked casually about what happened.

Her ability to remember all of her 8 brothers and 7 sisters was quite phenomenal for someone over 100 years old without any formal education. She even talked a little about her attendance at Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King’s father was the pastor before him.

In the fall of 1934 during the Fall revival, Parks joined Ebenezer Baptist Church which was the same church Dr. Martin Luther King went to.

What impressed me most about Mrs. Parks was her sharp memory and her clear communication of words for someone who went back to High School at the age of 40 and got her High School diploma when she was 50 years old. She was not poverty minded. She learned to live off of 50% of her income. Taking her mother and father, and moving them clear across the states to Georgia where she took care of them until they died. Out of her own pocket, Mrs. Parks buried all fifteen of her brothers and sisters as well as her mother and father.

She remember holding Dr. King up underneath her arm when he was a toddler. At the time that Dr. King’s mother was shot and killed in church, Dollie Parks was sitting on the front pew that morning. When she heard the shots she immediately went after the man that was responsible for killing Dr. King’s mother and was trampled by the rushing crowd.

Dollie Parks asked me to take the DVD of her sharing her life story and use 50% of the proceeds to raise money for Children At Risk. Today, I feel proud that I was honored to share some of my knowledge of Mrs. Dollie Parks, a woman who should be remembered for her determination and respected for what she had to endure.

In my book, Mrs. Dollie Parks will always be remembered as a hero.

Deremiah *CPE, the Customer Passion Executive is the author of “52 GREAT WEEKS” and one of the most popular “Top 25” Marketing Expert’s out of 10,000 on the world’s leading online marketing platform This Nightingale Conant Award-Winning Speaking Star, Artist & Inventor shows your CEO, Consultants, Sales and all your employees how easy it is to master the Servant’s Mentality. Creating a customized system to build your companies morale, increase your organizational footprint and launch your long awaited customer relationship campaign can all be done faster using Deremiah *CPE’s unorthodox techniques. Simultaneously he can show you his secret to growing your business just by helping At-Risk Children in the communities where you live and work. Reach Deremiah *CPE now [email protected].