She Would Not Be Moved: How We Tell the Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Overview


Published in hardcover in the fall of 2005 shortly before Rosa Parks died, She Would Not Be Moved is a timely and important exploration of how the story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott has been distorted when taught in schools. Hailed by the New York Times Book Review when it was first published as having "the transcendent power that allows us to see . . . alternate ways of viewing our history and understanding what is going on in our classrooms," this expanded version of Kohl’s original ...
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Overview


Published in hardcover in the fall of 2005 shortly before Rosa Parks died, She Would Not Be Moved is a timely and important exploration of how the story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott has been distorted when taught in schools. Hailed by the New York Times Book Review when it was first published as having "the transcendent power that allows us to see . . . alternate ways of viewing our history and understanding what is going on in our classrooms," this expanded version of Kohl’s original groundbreaking discussion "deftly catalogs problems with the prevailing presentations of Parks and offers [a] more historically accurate, politically pointed and age-appropriate alternative" (Chicago Tribune).

In addition to Marian Wright Edelman’s introduction, She Would Not Be Moved includes an original essay by Cynthia Brown on civil rights activists Septima Clark, Virginia Durr, and Rosa Parks; a teachers’ resource guide to educational materials about Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement; and an appendix explaining how to evaluate textbooks for young people about this critical period in U.S. history.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Rosa Parks made history by refusing to give up her bus seat. In December 1955, she arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for disobeying a bus driver's order to relinquish her seat to a white passenger. This simple act by a workingwoman galvanized the civil rights revolution. A year later, a Supreme Court decision banning segregation on public transit vehicles took effect. To the end of her life, Parks maintained a modest view of her own action. "I did not get on the bus to get arrested," she always told reporters. "I got on the bus to go home." Herbert Kohl's She Would Not Be Moved tells how her homecoming became ours.
School Library Journal
Kohl argues that Rosa Parks and her role in helping to ignite the Civil Rights movement have been depicted in children's books in ways that misrepresent and distort her decision to refuse to give up her seat on the bus so many years ago. He examined a number of school texts and children's books about Parks. In contrast to many of them, he sees her act as one of courage, determination, and calculated risk and is critical of those books that view her behavior as being prompted by tiredness and anger. To represent her act as spontaneous and driven by weariness, he maintains, is to misunderstand who Parks really was and what her defiant stand really meant. According to Kohl, this depiction does a tremendous disservice to the black community that carried out the resulting 381-day bus boycott and to its leadership as well. Kohl's position is not new. A number of scholarly texts place Parks and her act of defiance within a social, historical, and political context, calling attention to her long-held desire to affect radical racial change and the tactics for community mobilization that emerged. But Kohl's is the first book to discuss the effect of this kind of historical distortion on children. The teaching strategies he suggests, the numerous books he consulted, and his sensitive exploration of a thorny problem make this a book that can be helpful to everyone concerned about how young people understand race and how it is played out in this country.-Carol Jones Collins, Columbia High School, Maplewood, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Everything you know about Rosa Parks is wrong-unless you've been studying with education-reform activist Kohl (A Grain of Poetry, 1999, etc.). The canonical version of the Parks story is ably represented by an elementary-school textbook published 15 years ago: "One day Rosa was tired. She sat in the front. The bus driver told her to move. She did not. He called the police. Rosa was put in jail." The account misses one other well-worn trope-that Parks was a poor seamstress. That this is the story schoolchildren-white, black, Asian, Hispanic-know displeases Kohl, who sternly observes (after noting the presumptuousness of calling Mrs. Parks by her first name) that the Montgomery bus boycott that began in December 1955 was the work of African-Americans alone. This is not strictly correct, and Kohl later enlarges the view to include white sympathizers; still, his point that the resistance came from within oppressed communities and grew to embrace others stands. There are many other useful points throughout this reconstruction of events: The author notes, for instance, that Parks was not alone and not even the first to be arrested for resisting the law by which African-Americans had to sit in the "colored-only" (i.e., back) section of Montgomery buses-and then cede those seats to whites should the white section fill up. He adds, too, that Parks was no accidental convert to the cause, moved by tiredness to rebel; in fact, she had long been involved in civil-rights issues and was secretary of the local brach of the NAACP. Kohl proposes a similarly useful alternative narrative, one that does not disguise or whitewash the facts of organized racism. If grade-schoolers are truly equipped tocomprehend a past of poll taxes, lynching and institutional hatred in the place of the current pieties, then Kohl's lesson plan will serve them well.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595581273
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 1/1/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 126
  • Sales rank: 1,434,179
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.94 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Herbert Kohl is the author of more than forty books, including the bestselling classic 36 Children. A recipient of the National Book Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, he was founder and first director of the Teachers & Writers Collaborative in New York City and established the PEN West Center in San Francisco, where he lives. Marian Wright Edelman is founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund. She lives in Washington, D.C.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction   Marian Wright Edelman     xiii
She Would Not Be Moved     1
Appendix     59
Teaching Suggestions and Resources     79
Close Bonds: The Strength of Three Women   Cynthia Brown     107
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