We may think that we know the story of Rosa Parks. We’ve heard the myth that she was simply tired when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white man. And we may know that she was not the first to resist Jim Crow seating.
However, the real 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 will young people find the book a gripping read, they will 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, the Zinn Education Project is offering 14 sets of five copies of the book to teachers with a plan for using and promoting the text. To apply, respond to these questions on the form below:
- Offer a description (one or two paragraphs) of how you will use these books in your curriculum this year.
- 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 sharing a photo of students with the book on social media, asking students to write reviews for Goodreads or other book platforms, student-created social media promotions for the book, or other ideas you have.
Update: We have far exceeded 14 requests. If you complete the form, we will place you on a waiting list in case more funds become available.