Since the death of Civil Rights Protest Queen (Mrs.) Rosa Parks, many news organizations have sought quotations and anecdotes from Professor A.B. Assensoh of Indiana University's Bloomington campus. Currently serving as Professor & Director of Graduate Studies and Admissions on his campus, Assensoh (for some years) served in research, editorial and teaching capacities for Stanford University and its Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, including a stint at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia, where he worked very closely with Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Mrs. Christine King Farris and several other King Family members on behalf of the Stanford King Project. In his official capacity, he also came to know the Civil Rights Queen (Mrs. Rosa Parks), Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Rev. Andrew Young and several other Civil Rights greats. Below is a statement that Professor Assensoh has released to the various news organizations at their request; the publishing sources, requesting the statement from him, have included the Indiana-based "Times-Mail" newspaper.
"I came to know Mrs. Rosa Parks very well when I, previously, served as Director of Research and Associate Editor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project of Stanford University and also at the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change on Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia. Working very closely with Mrs. Coretta Scott King (Dr. King's very hard-working and indomitable widow) as well as other treasured King family members (including Sister Christine King Farris and the King children), I often had the chance to look at important civil rights documents and memorabilia that we were sifting through for the 13-volume King Papers that the California University Press has committed itself to publish. Among relevant papers were those dealing with Mrs. Parks, Dr. King and other civil rights greats. In my official capacity, I attended several events at which Mrs. Rosa Parks and Mrs. King were featured speakers or active organizers. Indeed, I am happy that when working for the Project for some years, I had the opportunity of also visiting historic civil rights sites in Memphis and Montgomery (where Mrs. Parks got on and off that fateful Montgomery city bus in 1955). In my opinion, these women (and a few others) could be considered stalwart mothers and heroines of the modern segment of the US civil rights movement. With Mrs. King's recent illness, as a result of a stroke, and the announced death of Mrs. Rosa Parks, one can say that the movement is, continuously, suffering irrepairable and non-replaceable losses. May the soul of Mrs. Parks rest in perfect and deserving peace, with the fervent prayer that, as announced, Mrs. King will eventually recover completely from the effects of the stroke, with unlimited thanks to her very loving and committed children, Yolanda (Yokie); Martin III; Dexter; and Bernice (Bunny); extended family members as well as other family members from the circles of the US Civil Rights Movement."
A.B. Assensoh, Ph.D., Professor & Director of Graduate Studies and Admissions,
African American and African Diaspora Studies (AAADS) Department, Indiana University-Bloomington, USA.