Jeanne Theoharis (Brooklyn College, CUNY) and Say Burgin (University of Leeds) have created a new teaching and learning website based on Rosa Parks long life of radical ideas and activism, especially around criminal justice work. The Rebellious Life of Rosa Parks is now live and ready and can be found at rosaparksbiography.org. The site is supported by the Mellon Seminar for Public Engagement and Collaborative Research at the Center for the Humanities, CUNY Graduate Center. Mellon fellow Jessica Murray provided great technical assistance.
The site pulls together primary sources from the Library of Congress-held Rosa Parks papers, from research that Jeanne and I have carried out, and from other parts of the web to provide a long and richly detailed account of Parks’ political work – from her work defending the Scottsboro Boys and collecting affidavits of black women who were sexually assaulted by white men, to her own account of why she made her bus stance, to her defense of political prisoners in the North. The creators hope that the site will enable educators to ensure that Rosa Parks does not remained confined to the elementary school curriculum, that teachers and students will find it useful for challenging simplistic narratives of black women’s activism and the civil rights movement, and that Parks’ voice and vision come across clearly throughout the site.