The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

Film. Directed by Johanna Hamilton and Yoruba Richen. Produced by Soledad O’Brien. 2022. 101 minutes.
This documentary sheds light on Rosa Parks' extensive organizing, radical politics, and lifelong dedication to justice.
Time Periods: Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000, 2001 - Present
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Women's History


Based on the bestselling biography by Jeanne Theoharis and executive produced by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien, this 2022 documentary depicts Rosa Parks’ life-long dedication to justice. The film chronicles her childhood, her activism before and during the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott, her work for Congressman John Conyers in Detroit, and her involvement in many causes, such as voting rights, anti-apartheid, reparations, fair housing, women’s rights, and the fight against police violence.

The documentary includes interviews with Jeanne Theoharis, Barbara Smith, Robin D. G. Kelley, Francis Gourrier, Keisha N. Blain, Mary Frances Berry, Ericka Huggins, Bryan Stevenson, Patrice Cullors, Rev. JoAnn Watson, Dan Aldridge, Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Frank Joyce, and more. Also included are recorded interviews from Eyes on the Prize with Jo Ann Robinson.

Directors Yoruba Richen and Johanna Hamilton expertly weave together interviews from many great academics and activists . . . along with personal stories from her family, and remarkable footage of Mrs. Parks herself, to dispel myths and to illuminate her decades-worth of extensive organizing, strategizing, and activism in the pursuit of Black liberation. Fiercely dedicated to correcting the frequent minimizing of her accomplishments and the erasure of her radical politics, this powerful documentary recognizes that Black women’s work in the Civil Rights movement is often overlooked, and celebrates one of America’s greatest heroes to ensure that her legacy lives on. — Celeste Wong

The film is scheduled to be released on Peacock in Fall 2022.

Share a story, question, or resource from your classroom.

Your email address will not be published.