Jim Crow laws were wrong. They are wrong today and they were wrong 50 years ago. Arrests made under those laws were just as wrong. Rosa Parks (and the many men and women who came before and after her) are heros because they stood up and announced to the world that those laws were wrong.
Today, some folks are still looking to apologize in some way (as we should – and oh, btw, as long as we’re talking about this… let’s just say it all… we have to start with a very obviously missing “We’re SORRY!”). And the latest attempt is pardoning those people who were wrongly arrested, starting with Parks. For those folks who are still alive and for whom the pardon would erase their “criminal” history, that’s great and they should receive one. In many cases, however, the pardon comes 50+ years TOO DAMN LATE!
For example, Lillie Mae Bradford (now 75) has suffered the effects of an arrest record since 1951. Yes, she wants a pardon and should be granted one. But that’s still not going to undo the injustice suffered for the last 55 years. It’s not going to make her career better now (she had trouble landing government jobs because of the record). All we (and I’m speaking for the average white citizen here) are doing is trying to appease our conscience.
And if that’s what “we” want to do… start with a sincere apology. Then fix the friggin’ problem (which STILL exists in many parts of this country).
For an “advanced” society, we’re still pretty messed up.