Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
Just months after his release from a South African prison in 1990 after 27 years of confinement, Nelson Mandela and his wife, Winnie, took a tour of the United States. It included a visit to Detroit.
There's a famous and deeply moving photograph taken at the Detroit airport soon after the couple had disembarked from their plane. Mandela is shown embracing an older woman, a former seamstress. Her name was Rosa Parks.
Damon Keith, a federal judge from Detroit, described the meeting this way:
"When he got off the plane in Detroit, there was a line of dignitaries waiting to greet him. He walked past the governor, the mayor, and many others toward the end of the line where stood Mother Parks. 'Rosa! Rosa. Rosa Parks,'" he said.
"Before King, there was Rosa Parks," Mandela said. "She is who inspired us."
Because of Nelson Mandela the world knows courage and hope in ways we never thought possible.