Free Copies of the Young Readers Edition of The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

Every year students learn about Rosa Parks. Most learn the myth that she was simply tired when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white man. Some may learn that she was involved the NAACP before she refused to move on the bus or that she was not the first to resist Jim Crow seating.

However, the larger story of Rosa Parks offers crucial lessons for young people about a life of activism that is dangerous for the guardians of the status quo.

Mrs. Parks’ life is a tapestry of resistance, including and beyond her brave act on the bus in Montgomery. In fact, she spent more than half her life in Detroit — which Mrs. Parks called “the Northern promised land that wasn’t” — fighting segregation in housing, hospitals, and restaurants; protesting police murders of Black teenagers; organizing against sexual violence; working for Congressman John Conyers and getting to know Malcolm X.

These stories and more are in the young readers’ edition of The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. Not only do young people find the book a gripping read, they also realize how egregious it is to, as Jeanne Theoharis says, “freeze Rosa Parks on the bus.” Rosa Parks’ life offers students a road map from the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter and #MeToo.

Join educators in teaching the whole truth about the rebellious Mrs. Parks.

Thanks to a donation of books from Lush Cosmetics in support of teaching truth in history, the Zinn Education Project is offering more than 2,000 sets of five copies of The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks to public school teachers, school librarians, and teacher educators, who have a plan for using and promoting the text. Offer limited to the United States. Some sets of 20 copies of the book will also be provided.

To request the books, respond to these questions on the form below

  1. Offer a description of how you will use these books in your curriculum.
  2. To help spread the word about the book, we ask recipients to plan to give it visibility. Tell how you might do that. It could be asking students to write reviews for Goodreads or other book platforms, student-created social media promotions for the book, a story from you about student responses to the book, a photo of your class with the book on social media, or other ideas you have.

Request Books

As long as you meet the criteria and respond to all the questions, as asked, the books will be shipped to you by the publisher. (The other limitation is that we are limiting the requests to 30 per school district.) Note that other than with the publisher, we do not share your contact information.

Here are some tweets and stories from teachers who have already received their books.

Here are the locations where teachers have received sets of the book so far.

The red pins indicate states where anti-history education (“anti-CRT”) legislation has passed and the yellow pins represent states where legislation has been proposed or is moving through state legislature. See a detailed map from Education Week of the legislation.

We are pleased that this offer coincides with the release by Peacock later this year of a documentary about Rosa Parks. The film, based on the book by Jeanne Theoharis and produced by Soledad O’Brien Productions, was selected for the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. As soon as the film is available to the public, we’ll post the details.

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

Your email address will not be published.