Rosa Parks, one of the countless heroes of the Southern freedom movement whose symbolism of defiance to injustice inspired millions, has died.

Since her passing comes in between the devastating events of Hurricane Katrina and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott that she helped launch (which we recently blogged about here), it seems appropriate to begin our tribute with a song from The Neville Brothers, New Orleans' own freedom singers, and their wonderful album Yellow Moon:

SISTER ROSA PARKS

by The Neville Brothers

December 1, 1955, our freedom movement came alive. And because of Sister Rosa you know, we don't ride on the back of the bus no more.

Sister Rosa Parks was tired one day
after a hard day on her job.
When all she wanted was a well deserved rest
Not a scene from an angry mob.
A bus driver said, "Lady, you got to get up
cuz a white person wants that seat."
But Miss Rosa said, "No, not no more.
I'm gonna sit here and rest my feet."

Chorus
Thank you Miss Rosa, you are the spark,
You started our freedom movement
Thank you Sister Rosa Parks.
Thank you Miss Rosa you are the spark,
You started our freedom movement
Thank you Sister Rosa Parks.

Now, the police came without fail
And took Sister Rosa off to jail.
And 14 dollars was her fine,
Brother Martin Luther King
knew it was our time.
The people of Montgomery sit down to talk
It was decided all gods' children should walk
Until segregation was brought to its knees
And we obtain freedom and equality, yeah

Chorus
Thank you Miss Rosa, you are the spark,
You started our freedom movement
Thank you Sister Rosa Parks.
We'll sing it again
Thank you Miss Rosa, you are the spark,
You started our freedom movement
Thank you Sister Rosa Parks.

So we dedicate this song to thee
for being the symbol of our dignity.
Thank Sister Rosa Parks.
Chorus 2x

Calypso Freedom
by Sweet Honey In The Rock
Original tune, "The Banana Boat Song" from Jamaica
New Arr. By Bernice Johnson Reagon & Evelyn Maria Harris
Songtalk Publishing

Freedom, freedom now
Freedom has come and it won't be long
Freedom, give us freedom, now
Freedom has come and it won't be long

Well I took a trip on a greyhound bus
I got to fight segregation now this we must
I got to fight segregation around the nation
We gotta keep fighting all around the world

Well, I took a trip down to Alabama way
Oooh and met a lot of violence on Mother's Day
I ain't scared of no violence
No, I wont
I gotta keep on a fighting

Well, on to Mississippi with speed we go
Of the blue shirted policemen they meet us at the door.
But I ain't' scared of no policemen, they don't scare me, no
It's a coming and it won't be long
They can wear blue shirts or black shirts, any color shirts, I don't care.

Well, you can hinder me here; you can hinder me there
But I go right down on my knees and pray
Yes I will pray for freedom, I will sing for freedom
I keep fighting for freedom, I keep marching for freedom.

My freedom is a comin' and it won't be long
My freedom is a comin' and it won't be long

D. Johnson, C. Moore, C. Neville, C. Neville, Jr., J. Neville
L. Neville Irving Music, Inc. obo Neville Music, Inc.
Johnson Music; Wm. Claffey & Associates
(p) 1989 A&M Records
Courtesy of A&M Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises