The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0807050474

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

2014 NAACP Image Award Winner: Outstanding Literary Work – Biography / Auto Biography

2013 Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians 

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The definitive political biography of Rosa Parks examines her six decades of activism, challenging perceptions of her as an accidental actor in the civil rights movement

Presenting a corrective to the popular notion of Rosa Parks as the quiet seamstress who, with a single act, birthed the modern civil rights movement, Theoharis provides a revealing window into Parks’s politics and years of activism. She shows readers how this civil rights movement radical sought—for more than a half a century—to expose and eradicate the American racial-caste system in jobs, schools, public services, and criminal justice.

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here last year” (Box II: C4, Folder 2, NAACP). However it seems conceivable that Parks could have attended the Atlanta meeting but not personally have met Baker until Jacksonville. 51. Brinkley, Rosa Parks, 67; RP to NAACP, March 11, 1946, Box II: C4, Folder 2, NAACP. 52. Brinkley, Rosa Parks, 68–69. 53. Ransby, Ella Baker, 142. 54. Extensive correspondence between Montgomery branch and national office found in, Box II: C4, Folder 2, and Box II: C390, Folder 4, NAACP. 55. Ibid. 56. A

self-defense, 7, 12, 99, 201, 203, 208, 221, 213; as a symbol, x, xv, 83, 92, 93, 94, 104, 117, 121, 139, 164, 203, 233, 235–238, 242–244 Parks, Raymond, viii, xii, xiii, xiv, 8, 13, 20, 28, 31, 32, 37, 43, 50, 62, 72, 88, 99, 108, 127, 132, 137, 139, 159, 178, 188, 199, 215, 222, 266n29; and activism, 12, 13–17, 20, 22, 24, 51, 123, 124, 145, 211, 234, 270n151; and barbering in Detroit, 151, 158, 191, 195; criticism of, 76, 77, 122–123, 266n35; death of, 229; and decision to leave Montgomery,

court. While in the minority, Nixon felt the branch hadn’t done enough and continued to press the chapter—along with the national organization—to do more about implementing the decision.112 The Board of Education continued to stonewall; Parks thought the situation was “hopeless.” She grew discouraged in the wake of Brown by the “apathy on the part of our people.”113 Expanding the vote continued to be a pressing issue for both Nixon and Parks. In the summer of 1954, Nixon was named chair of a

even harder, and the many small comforts of the middle class could quickly disintegrate. “I have known Negroes killed by whites without any arrests or investigation,” Parks explained. “This thing called segregation is a complete and solid . . . way of life. We are conditioned to it and make the best of a bad situation.”54 Amidst that fearsome climate, Johnnie Carr noted, “Many Negroes lost faith in themselves.”55 Indeed, Alabama State professor J. E. Pierce, a longtime NAACP member, initially

of the organization, and to “think it over carefully before accepting an engagement.” Parks did not directly challenge Current but foregrounded the group’s help in the boycott, redirecting how the conversation played out, and remained committed to giving the speech.165 Parks understood the ways that challenges to the racial status quo led to claims of Communist subversion. Her longtime work with the NAACP had rendered her suspect, and she had given up her position in the organization to protect

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