“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.”
“Theoharis submits a lavishly well-documented study of Parks’s life and career as an activist.”
“Verdict: This meticulously researched book is for everyone; advanced middle school and beyond.”
“Jeanne Theoharis has written an eye-opening biography of Rosa Parks. It was ideal for the classroom: smart, brisk, and engaging. Best of all, Theoharis explodes all of the clichés surrounding a historical figure whom most students thought they knew. I will assign this book again and again.”
—Thomas J. Sugrue, David Boies Professor of History and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania
From the Hardcover edition.
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
From the Hardcover edition.