In this film made three years before her death at 92, Rosa Parks was given a most accurate portrayal of her life and the times she grew up in. One simple act of disobedience to an unjust and demeaning law sparked the conscience of the caring members of a nation.
I have to confess that I did not know much about Rosa Parks other than that act on Christmas Eve of 1955 when she refused to give up a seat on a bus to a white person because the Jim Crow laws demanded it. In fact I believe that most people think that she was just a department store seamstress which the civil rights movement used as a symbol against injustice.
Rosa Parks, born Rosa Louise McCauley in the area around Montgomery, Alabama was quite politically aware. Part of that came from her marriage to barber Raymond Parks played here by Peter Francis James. It may have looked like an ordinary black barbershop to a lot of people, but in fact it was a meeting place for what was deemed revolutionary activity by the segregationists in control. You could find all kinds of radical literature there, not on public display to be sure, but stuff put out by the NAACP and even the Communist Party. When Raymond had met and was courting Rosa in 1932 he was raising money for the Scottsboro case, the notorious one where several black homeless youths riding in a freight car during the depression, allegedly gang raped some white women who were in similar economic circumstances.
Rosa was the secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP which was not a paying job. Which was why she was working as a seamstress when her call from destiny occurred on Christmas. The woman had a history of civil rights activism that I was not aware of.
Angela Bassett does a fine job in capturing the hopes and dreams and frustrations of a woman who saw and wanted a lot more from life than what she was restricted to. You'll also see Dexter King play his immortal father Martin Luther King who first came to prominence during the boycott of the Montgomery Bus System that resulted from Rosa's arrest and fine.
It's now 64 years since Rosa Parks made a defiant act against injustice the symbol of the Civil Rights movement. The Rosa Parks Story is an absolute must for any young viewers who want to acquaint themselves with a triumph against an unjust way of life.
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