The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

by Jeanne Theoharis

Hardcover

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Overview

2014 NAACP Image Award Winner: Outstanding Literary Work–Biography/Autobiography
 
2013 Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians


Choice Top 25 Academic Titles for 2013

The definitive political biography of Rosa Parks examines her six decades of activism, challenging perceptions of her as an accidental actor in the civil rights movement.

This revised edition includes a new introduction by the author, who reflects on materials in the Rosa Parks estate, purchased by Howard Buffett in 2014 and opened to the public at the Library of Congress in February 2015. Theoharis contextualizes this rich material—made available to the public for the very first time and including more than seven thousand documents—and deepens our understanding of Parks’s personal, financial, and political struggles.

Presenting a powerful corrective to the popular iconography of Rosa Parks as the quiet seamstress who with a single act birthed the modern civil rights movement, scholar Jeanne Theoharis excavates Parks’s political philosophy and six decades of activism. Theoharis masterfully details the political depth of a national heroine who dedicated her life to fighting American inequality and, in the process, resurrects a civil rights movement radical who has been hidden in plain sight far too long.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807050477
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 01/29/2013
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jeanne Theoharis is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She received an A.B. in Afro-American studies from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in American culture from the University of Michigan. She is the author or coauthor of six books and numerous articles on the black freedom struggle and the contemporary politics of race in the United States

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From the Introduction
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Excerpted from "The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Jeanne Theoharis.
Excerpted by permission of Beacon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction: National Honor/Public Mythology: The Passing of Rosa Parks
Chapter 1: "A Life History of Being Rebellious": The Early Years of Rosa McCauley Parks
Chapter 2: "It Was Very Difficult To Keep Going When All Our Work Seemed To Be in Vain":The Civil Rights Movement Before the Bus Boycott
Chapter 3: "I Had Been Pushed As Far As I Could Stand To Be Pushed":Rosa Parks's Bus Stand
Chapter 4: "There Lived a Great People":The Montgomery Bus Boycott
Chapter 5: "It Is Fine To Be a Heroine But the Price Is High": The Suffering of Rosa Parks
Chapter 6: "The Northern Promised Land That Wasn't": Rosa Parks and the Black Freedom Struggle in Detroit
Chapter 7: "Any Move to Show We Are Dissatisfied:" Mrs. Parks in the Black Power Era
Conclusion: "Racisim is Still Alive":Negotiating the Politics of Being a Symbol
Acknowledgements
Notes
Index

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks will undoubtedly be hailed as one of the most important scholarly contributions to civil rights history ever written. … I can’t wait to assign this book in every class I teach.”—Melissa Harris-Perry, host, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry

“Theoharis brings all of her talents as a political scientist and historian of the civil rights movement to bear on this illuminating biography of the great Rosa Parks.”—Henry Louis Gates Jr.

"Charisma is not a word often used to describe Rosa Parks yet we have to recognize her star. The Rosa Parks challenge to the political system was deep and lasting even while she never raised her voice. The first female Speaker of the House of Representatives once said, 'You can get a lot done if you don’t need to take credit for it.' She took a page from the book of Parks. Theoharis’ scholarship brings forth a woman whom many followed without ever realizing they were. She was courageous and strong. She also had a wonderful sense of humor. And an awesome sense of responsibility. This is a much needed book on the woman who is, arguably, the most important person in the last half of the twentieth century. Just as the Lincoln Memorial needs a statue of Frederick Douglass gently bending over with a pen in his hand for Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. needs a statue of Rosa Parks just one or two steps ahead mouthing the words: 'Come on, Dr. King. We’ve got work to do.'"
—Nikki Giovanni, Poet

“How Theoharis learned the true nature of this woman is a story in itself. Parks always stood in the background, never volunteered information about herself and eschewed fame. There were no letters to consult; even her autobiography exposed little of the woman’s personality. She hid her light under a bushel, and it has taken an astute author to find the real Parks. Even though her refusal to give up her bus seat sparked a revolution, Rosa Parks was no accidental heroine. She was born to it, and Theoharis ably shows us how and why.”
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Historian Theoharis offers a complex portrait of a forceful, determined woman who had long been active before the boycott she inspired and who had an even longer career in civil rights afterward.”
Booklist

"Theoharis submits a lavishly well-documented study of Parks’s life and career as an activist.”
Publishers Weekly

"Verdict: This meticulously researched book is for everyone; advanced middle school and beyond.”
—Library Journal 

 

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The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
New York Times Op Ed. review excerpt. Rosa Parks, Revisited By CHARLES M. BLOW Published: February 1, 2013 Most of what you think you know about Rosa Parks may well be wrong. On the verge of the 100th anniversary of her birth this Monday comes a fascinating new book, “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” by Jeanne Theoharis, a Brooklyn College professor. It argues that the romanticized, children’s-book story of a meek seamstress with aching feet who just happened into history in a moment of uncalculated resistance is pure mythology. As Theoharis points out, “Rosa’s family sought to teach her a controlled anger, a survival strategy that balanced compliance with militancy.” Parks was mostly raised by her grandparents. Her grandfather, a follower of Marcus Garvey, often sat vigil on the porch with a rifle in case the Klan came. She sometimes sat with him because, as the book says she put it, “I wanted to see him kill a Ku Kluxer.” When she was a child, a young white man taunted her. In turn, she threatened him with a brick. Her grandmother reprimanded her as “too high-strung,” warning that Rosa would be lynched before the age of 20. Rosa responded, “I would be lynched rather than be run over by them.” One of the most troubling and possibly most controversial scenes in the book occurs when Rosa is a young woman working as a domestic. A white man whom she calls “Mr. Charlie” tries to sexually assault her. Determined to protect herself, she taunts him as she evades him, haranguing him about the “white man’s inhuman treatment of the Negro.” “How I hated all white people, especially him,” she continued. “I said I would never stoop so low as to have anything to do with him.” Parks added that “if he wanted to kill me and rape a dead body, he was welcome but he would have to kill me first.” The author points out that although the story is recorded in Parks’s own handwriting, it isn’t clear whether it’s completely true, half true or just allegory.. .. When Parks died in 2005, Theoharis says, “The Rosa Parks who surfaced in the deluge of public commentary was, in nearly every account, characterized as ‘quiet.’ ‘Humble,’ ‘dignified,’ and ‘soft-spoken,’ she was ‘not angry’ and ‘never raised her voice.’ ” Parks, like many other Americans who over the years have angrily agitated for change in this country, had been sanitized and sugarcoated for easy consumption. As Theoharis writes: “Held up as a national heroine but stripped of her lifelong history of activism and anger at American injustice, the Parks who emerged was a self-sacrificing mother figure for a nation who would use her death for a ritual of national redemption.” Fortunately, this book seeks to restore Parks’s wholeness, even at the risk of stirring unease. The Rosa Parks in this book is as much Malcolm X as she is Martin Luther King Jr. .... ..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My option on The Rebellious Life Of Mrs.Rosa Parks is very disappointing. I really didn’t expect the book be as boring as it was. The book doesn’t get to the main point it talks about unnecessary things. The book was kind of interesting but at the same time there was just extra information that wasn’t needed. The book would of been better if it just talked about how she was raised,how she dealt with racism,and how she stood up for herself. The book was boring because it made me read unnecessary things that I really didn’t need to know about Rosa Parks. But at the same time I had to figure out a way to enjoy the book since I was going to be stuck reading it. The table of context was very useful because it help me look for what I was looking for by looking at the title of the chapter. The book did teach me new information about Rosa Parks and also gave me information I knew about her to. If the author would of made the book a little more interesting I think it would've been better to enjoy reading. I wouldn’t really recommend this book to anyone who is just trying to learn the main information about Rosa Parks and what she’s known for. My review of this book is a five out of ten stars because it gave basic information about Rosa Parks and gave me way to many extra information that was necessary for me to answer the questions I was given to answer.
ash15 More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore that had a research project for my english class. Ever since elementary school I've learned about Rosa Parks and her Civil Rights activism but when I this book I really got to know what lead her to be such and influential woman. The book was very detailed and mentioned a lot about how she got the ideas of equality and civil rights and why she was so passionate about it. Her family was a very big impact on her journey and it inspired me to be more involved with mine because of their influence on her. It shows how head strong she was and how she was a great influencer on the road to Civil Rights. Many odds were against her because she was African American and a woman and she still made the movement of Civil Rights happen, along side Martin Luther King Jr. of course. She has influenced me to stand up for myself more and to not be afraid for standing up for what I believe in.
ash15 More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore that had a research project for my english class. Ever since elementary school I've learned about Rosa Parks and her Civil Rights activism but when I this book I really got to know what lead her to be such and influential woman. The book was very detailed and mentioned a lot about how she got the ideas of equality and civil rights and why she was so passionate about it. Her family was a very big impact on her journey and it inspired me to be more involved with mine because of their influence on her. It shows how head strong she was and how she was a great influencer on the road to Civil Rights. Many odds were against her because she was African American and a woman and she still made the movement of Civil Rights happen, along side Martin Luther King Jr. of course. She has influenced me to stand up for myself more and to not be afraid for standing up for what I believe in.
ash15 More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore that had a research project for my english class. Ever since elementary school I've learned about Rosa Parks and her Civil Rights activism but when I this book I really got to know what lead her to be such and influential woman. The book was very detailed and mentioned a lot about how she got the ideas of equality and civil rights and why she was so passionate about it. Her family was a very big impact on her journey and it inspired me to be more involved with mine because of their influence on her. It shows how head strong she was and how she was a great influencer on the road to Civil Rights. Many odds were against her because she was African American and a woman and she still made the movement of Civil Rights happen, along side Martin Luther King Jr. of course. She has influenced me to stand up for myself more and to not be afraid for standing up for what I believe in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore and I chose this book for my research project. While growing up I was taught very little about Rosa Parks in history class. She is most famous for her bus boycott but Theoharis was able to carefully describe Rosa's life. In this book learned about Rosa's childhood, her education, important people, and what led her to be rebellious. Theohairs uses descriptive detail to be able to set the scene and image what happened during her life. Before reading this book I was basically clueless on the Civil Rights Movement but Theoharis explains segregation, the circumstances black people where under during the 50's and 60's, and what the government was doing to solve the problem. After reading this book i feel as if i am more educated on the Civil Right Movement and Rosa's life. For me, this book was easy to read and understandable. I enjoyed this book very much and highly recommend it for high school students. Although you must be up for learning not only history of Rosa's life but on segregation in the south. This book is a bit long but totally worth the read. This book was great I am very satisfied
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore and I read this book for my research project. I did not know much about Rosa Parks, but after reading this book, I found out that she is a very interesting woman. I am not a big fan of reading books, but once I started reading the book, it caught my attention. I think that it was a fascinating and very well written story of her life. When the author covers the segregation and racial discrimination going on in Rosa Park's life, it was very thought-provoking. I liked how the author describes Rosa Park's rebellious actions on the bus and how courageous she was. She made very bold decisions that inspires me to always stand up for what is right. It taught me to not be afraid to be different from everyone else. It also taught me to not be a follower of others, but just do what is right. Her occupation as a civil rights activist, inspired many other freedom fighters to make a change in the world. Her importance in world history impacted many people in our world today. I fully recommend this book to anyone who is interested in civil rights activism. This book may look long, but it is not at all hard to comprehend. Rosa Parks is truly a excellent and influential role model to many people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore and I read this book for my English research project. I believe Theoharis was able to capture the community in which Rosa Parks lived. This book goes into excessive detail about life in Southern States in the 1960's but indeed I learned so much. I did not know Rosa was already a participating Civil Rights activist alongside her husband, Raymond Parks. She was a member of N.A.A.C.P, a secretary and seamstress. I do not like to read books especially books about history, but I was submerged into each new chapter. Everything you might know about Rosa Parks, is probably nowhere near her true story, which thanks to Theoharis is greatly descriptive. For Rosa Parks to be the spark of the Civil Rights Movement, is unbelievable especially since she came from a family who dealt with slavery and discrimination. Theoharis does not disappoint and she practically writes about Rosa's life from beginning to end. My favorite part in this book is actually when Rosa gets arrested because I mean mostly everyone thinks they know how it happened on the bus but in fact it was much more complicated than what we are told to believe. Rosa Parks inspired many Americans to speak up against what is unjust and fight for your rights. Life was very hard for Rosa because after her start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, she and her family faced death threats and abuse. When I read this story, it wasn't so much about who she was a person but how she was a big part in her community. I love the way Jeanne Theoharis includes the death of Rosa Parks, and how her funeral was a big deal in our American History. I highly recommend this book if you need information about the Civil Rights Movement started or if you just want to know the true story of Rosa Parks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They put her in jail because she disobeyed the law. But I am not saying that your wrong, I am only explaining why she was arrested. But she knew that black people or what some white folks call us, Negroes, aint being treated right! And non o' us gonna stand for it. We just asked for equal rights so we can be equal to white folks.[I am not trying to make that an insult or races to you.] I am 100% black and I aint gonna let em take any of my black blood away from me. For all the black girls and boys in the world, don't let anyone tell you that you're not 100% black!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mrs.rosa parks was a good women i dont see y they put here in jail
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My name is abby and i have this book in paper it is very interesting. I really LOVE this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago