Rosa Parks: A Life

Rosa Parks: A Life

by Douglas Brinkley

An eminent historian follows Rosa Parks from her childhood in Jim Crow Alabama through her early involvement in the NAACP to her epochal moment of courage and her afterlife as a beloved--and resented--icon of the civil rights movement.

  • Series: Penguin Lives
  • Language: English
  • Category: Biography
  • Rating: 4.07
  • Publish Date: November 1st 2005 by Turtleback Books
  • Isbn10: 0606346104
  • Isbn13: 9780606346108

What People Think about "Rosa Parks: A Life"

Her work throughout her life earned her the moniker "mother of the civil rights movement." It is obvious, by Brinkley's description of Parks, that she was a wonderful, kind woman who could seem shy and meek but had gumption when it was needed. She worked hard and spent her life fighting for voting and civil rights for African Americans.

What seemed like a small act by a quiet, unassuming woman who just wanted to sit down and relax after a long day of work, inspired a year-long boycott of Montgomerys bus system. Sure, Rosa Parks was unassuming and she did work as a seamstress. Brinkleys books exhaustively researches all the notable hard work and achievements Ms. Parks did on behalf of the civil rights movement, and I found myself in more in awe of this amazing woman. Mrs. Parks later wrote her autobiography and a book inspirational ideas and essays called Quiet Strength. Mrs. Parks also chronicled her life and activism in her autobiography and wrote a book of inspirational ideas and essays called Quiet Strength. And throughout her life she received countless awards for her tireless work on behalf of the civil rights movement and other accomplishments.

Cannot get my book group to read this, but sure wish I could!

Nearly every American is taught the role of Rosa Parks in the Civil Rights movement. She was not the first person, however, to have such a moment of civil disobedience to the racial segregation policies of Jim Crow. Faith in God was never the question for Rosa Parks; it was the answer. Montgomery itself, incidentally, provided much of the support for developing the character of Rosa Parks. Blake who was driving the Cleveland Avenue bus twelve years later when Parks once again refused to budge, with far greater consequences. Textbook accounts of her momentous stand of December 1, 1955, generally neglect to mention that the drama unfolded in large part because Parks had absentmindedly boarded Blakes bus that day, and that her act of civil disobedience was partly the result of her personal revulsion toward one particular bus driver. Just about everyone who hears the story of Rosa Parks asks the same question: Was her refusal to give up her seat premeditated? Rosa Parks did not wake up on the morning of December 1, 1955, primed for a showdown over civil rights with the local police. What arose in Parks that fateful evening was her belief in what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., often said: that some of us must bear the burden of trying to save the soul of America. On her way home that night, Parks had no intention of making the headlines or history: She was thinking about relaxing for a rare moment, proper her feet up on the sofa, listening to a couple of Christmas carols, and preparing for that evenings NAACP Youth Council meeting. But when a white man tried to use an unfair system to undermine her dignity, Rosa Parks realized that it was her burden to stay put. If a day laborers feet got so tired that he thought of riding the bus, all he had to do was mutter, Rosa Parks, and the temptation would be gone. While NAACP members in the North saw Parks as an ordinary woman who one day did an extraordinary thing, in Montgomery she was regarded as a divine messenger. It helped, of course, that at forty-two years old Parks was also a natural maternal figure to the young ministers and lawyers who led the boycott: Gray was only twenty-five, King was twenty-six, and Abernathy was twenty-nine. Parks found the entire event the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, including Kings soaring oratory, tainted by a male chauvinism every bit as ugly in its discrimination as Jim Crow. Upon returning to Detroit in 1963, however, Parks became more vocal for womens rights while paradoxically maintaining many old-school customs, such as always serving men their dinner first.

As is, this short book is the main source of information about the iconic civil rights hero.