The rebellious life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

Jeanne Theoharis

Book - 2021

"This definitive biography of Rosa Parks accessibly examines her six decades of activism, challenging young readers perceptions of her as an accidental actor in the civil rights movement."--

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Series
Revisioning history for young people series
Subjects
Genres
Young adult nonfiction
Biographies
Published
Boston : Beacon Press [2021]
Edition
Young readers' edition
Language
English
Physical Description
296 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Audience
Ages 12+
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 274-278) and index.
ISBN
9780807067574
0807067571
Main Author
Jeanne Theoharis (author)
Other Authors
Brandy Colbert (author), 1969- (-)
  • A (Shy) Rebel Is Born
  • Following Rules and Breaking Some, Too
  • Introducing Raymond Parks: "The First Real Activist I Ever Met"
  • The Newest Member of the NAACP
  • Organizing in the Face of Opposition
  • The NAACP Youth Council Gets a Fresh Start
  • Resistance + Anger = Seeds of Change
  • Claudette Colvin Sits Down (And Rises Up)
  • Highlander Folk School
  • Seeking Justice for Emmett Till
  • December 1,
  • A Boycott Blossoms
  • Rosa Parks Goes to Court
  • A Yearlong Boycott
  • The Best of Times and the Worst of Times
  • Victory at Last (but the Struggle Continues)
  • "The Northern Promised Land that Wasn't"
  • Rosa Parks Joins the Fight Up North
  • The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
  • Working for John Conyers
  • Meeting Malcolm X
  • Going (Back) Down South
  • The Detroit Uprising
  • The Assassination of Dr. King
  • Black Power!
  • "Freedom Fighters Never Retire"
  • The Struggle Continues.
Review by Choice Reviews

In this magnificent, important book, the first truly full-length biography of Rosa Parks, political science professor Theoharis (Brooklyn College-CUNY) restores Parks's rightful place in US history. Stripping away the simplistic, comforting myth of Parks as merely a humble woman who made an impromptu stand that inadvertently put her on history's stage, Theoharis instead presents a Parks who was long committed to racial justice and human rights, both before and long after the Montgomery Bus Boycott that she was so central in initiating and that made her famous. The author is especially effective at following Parks into the decades beyond Montgomery, showing her longstanding commitments while at the same time moving her struggle, which echoed the country's in many ways, from Alabama and the Deep South to Detroit and its deeply embedded northern racial intransigence. Theoharis writes clearly and well, is passionate about her subject, and makes a vital contribution to understanding not only Parks's life and times but also the civil rights movement itself. Few books transform readers' understanding of their topic. This is such a book. Summing Up: Essential. All public and academic levels/libraries. General Readers; Lower-division Undergraduates; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty; Two-year Technical Program Students; Professionals/Practitioners. D. C. Catsam University of Texas of the Permian Basin Copyright 2013 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Theoharis (political science, Brooklyn Coll.) deftly examines the established Parks narrative from myriad pertinent perspectives. She fills gaps in the story of the 1955 Montgomery, AL, bus boycott by illuminating this central character who was no one's pawn, no organization's plant, but a self-aware activist who unknowingly, but gladly, lit the fuse to the keg igniting the civil rights era. Relegated primarily to a symbolic role, Parks nonetheless traveled extensively, spoke eloquently, and worked tirelessly on behalf of civil rights organizations. However, her unwillingness to self-identify as a noteworthy individual had the unfortunate consequence that neither of the groups in whose fundraising she was so intimately involved (the NAACP and the Montgomery Improvement Association) felt emboldened to take much responsibility for the personal and economic fallout Parks and her family suffered as a result of her actions. They moved to Detroit in 1957, where she found ample opportunity to continue her work. Theoharis recounts the fascinating new allies Parks encountered as the years progressed and her politics stayed true. VERDICT This meticulously researched book is for everyone; advanced middle school and beyond.—Jewell Anderson, Armstrong Atlantic Univ. Lib., Savannah, GA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Theoharis (political science, Brooklyn Coll.) deftly examines the established Parks narrative from myriad pertinent perspectives. She fills gaps in the story of the 1955 Montgomery, AL, bus boycott by illuminating this central character who was no one's pawn, no organization's plant, but a self-aware activist who unknowingly, but gladly, lit the fuse to the keg igniting the civil rights era. Relegated primarily to a symbolic role, Parks nonetheless traveled extensively, spoke eloquently, and worked tirelessly on behalf of civil rights organizations. However, her unwillingness to self-identify as a noteworthy individual had the unfortunate consequence that neither of the groups in whose fundraising she was so intimately involved (the NAACP and the Montgomery Improvement Association) felt emboldened to take much responsibility for the personal and economic fallout Parks and her family suffered as a result of her actions. They moved to Detroit in 1957, where she found ample opportunity to continue her work. Theoharis recounts the fascinating new allies Parks encountered as the years progressed and her politics stayed true. VERDICT This meticulously researched book is for everyone; advanced middle school and beyond.—Jewell Anderson, Armstrong Atlantic Univ. Lib., Savannah, GA [Page 96]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 6 Up—The name Rosa Parks conjures images of her most famous act of defiance: refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus in Montgomery, AL. Readers will see a pattern of rebellion that started when Parks was a young girl and never really ended until her death in 2005. She fought for the rights of Black people, especially Black women, for over 60 years. Parks was one of the few women who held an office in the NAACP. She marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and she attended the rallies of Malcolm X. The act of protest on the bus, which led to a 381-day bus boycott and the eventual desegregation of public transportation, is only one example of her activism. The full story is more traumatic and heartrending than the textbook portrayal of a tired seamstress who refused to give up her seat. Parks and her family endured criticism, threatening phone calls, and police brutality. After the bus incident, she and her husband were fired from their jobs, which led to their eventual move to Detroit. As much as some readers want to believe racism was exclusive to the Southern states, both Parks and her husband experienced bigotry during their time in Michigan. Parks was often overlooked as a leader during her own time because she was a Black woman. Theoharis and Colbert provide a thorough tome for those who truly want to understand Parks's life. The familiar version most people encounter does not paint an accurate picture of Park's hopes, dreams, struggles, heartbreaks, and successes. The writing style flows seamlessly, drawing readers into the narrative. The addition of journal entries in Park's own handwriting and photos lend to the authenticity of the stories. VERDICT Recommended for all middle grade and YA collections.—Jeni Tahaney, Summit H.S., Manfield, TX Copyright 2020 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"This definitive biography of Rosa Parks accessibly examines her six decades of activism, challenging young readers perceptions of her as an accidental actor in the civil rights movement."--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A Chicago Public Library’s “Best of the Best Books of 2021” Selection · A Kirkus Reviews “Best YA Biography and Memoir of 2021” SelectionNow adapted for readers ages 12 and up, the award-winning biography that examines Parks’s life and 60 years of radical activism and brings the civil rights movement in the North and South to lifeRosa Parks is one of the most well-known Americans today, but much of what is known and taught about her is incomplete, distorted, and just plain wrong. Adapted for young people from the NAACP Image Award–winning The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, Jeanne Theoharis and Brandy Colbert shatter the myths that Parks was meek, accidental, tired, or middle class. They reveal a lifelong freedom fighter whose activism began two decades before her historic stand that sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and continued for 40 years after. Readers will understand what it was like to be Parks, from standing up to white supremacist bullies as a young person to meeting her husband, Raymond, who showed her the possibility of collective activism, to her years of frustrated struggle before the boycott, to the decade of suffering that followed for her family after her bus arrest. The book follows Parks to Detroit, after her family was forced to leave Montgomery, Alabama, where she spent the second half of her life and reveals her activism alongside a growing Black Power movement and beyond.Because Rosa Parks was active for 60 years, in the North as well as the South, her story provides a broader and more accurate view of the Black freedom struggle across the twentieth century. Theoharis and Colbert show young people how the national fable of Parks and the civil rights movement—celebrated in schools during Black History Month—has warped what we know about Parks and stripped away the power and substance of the movement. The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks illustrates how the movement radically sought to expose and eradicate racism in jobs, housing, schools, and public services, as well as police brutality and the over-incarceration of Black people—and how Rosa Parks was a key player throughout.Rosa Parks placed her greatest hope in young people—in their vision, resolve, and boldness to take the struggle forward. As a young adult, she discovered Black history, and it sustained her across her life. The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks will help do that for a new generation.