[Posted by M. Bogen, 2-19-13] Black History Month, says NYT columnist Charles Blow, is the perfect time to understand Rosa Parks in all her complexity. Citing a new book by Jeanne Theoharis called The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, he explains in his February 1, 2013, column why Ms. Parks was so much more than the mythologized "meek seamstress with aching feet who just happened into history in a moment of uncalculated resistance." For example, Blow tells us that Parks "spent nearly two decades before the bus incident struggling, organizing and agitating for civil rights, mostly as the secretary of the Montgomery, Ala., branch of the N.A.A.C.P. But it wasn’t until Parks was in her 40s and attended an integrated workshop that she found 'for the first time in my adult life that this could be a unified society.'" Blow also explains that "Parks was by no means the first person to perform an act of civil disobedience on a bus. She was very much aware of many of the people whose similar actions had preceded her own, even raising money for some of their defense funds. She also encouraged others to commit these acts of civil disobedience." Read Charles Blow's entire column.