The Rosa Parks Story (TV Movie 2002) Poster

(2002 TV Movie)

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Commemoration is also a right!!!
dataconflossmoor4 November 2005
This comment is to commemorate the historic event fifty years ago whereby Rosa Parks refused to relinquish her seat on the bus in the devastatingly volatile southern state of Alabama. Her actions accelerated the snail's pace progress of civil rights tremendously!!..It is alarming to realize that not all that long ago, we as a nation were hopelessly mired in an abyss of racial hatred so deep, that Rosa Parks set a nationwide precedent, by simply refusing to acquiesce to the premise of racial inequality!!...It is abhorrent and reprehensible to think!! that Rosa Parks was punished, and subject to criminal repercussions, just because she was told that as an individual, she was inferior, and she did not concur!!...Rosa Parks said NO!! to racial hatred!!!...Rosa Parks said NO!! to baseless presumptions!!! and Rosa Parks became nauseated to the breaking point to say ENOUGH!! when she was denied a right that is ascertained by the constitution, a right that is pronounced by the scripture, and a right that is decreed by God...The right of equality!!!

In the past fifty years , we have made great strides in civil liberties and rights accorded us...However, the single biggest killer wolf in sheep's clothing, and the most deadly form of hatred, is when we say that hatred no longer exists!!! Many atrocities stemming from hatred which have been vitiated in the last fifty years are a form of self congratulatory accomplishment, but by no means, any indication of complete progress..Hatred is an insidious assassin which can strike without notice, if we pretend that racial and social hatred no longer exist, then we are capitulating to a lethal ignorance which will inevitably set us back to the dreadful days of repugnant oppression!! This incident was socially appalling!! I am an individual who detests even a modicum of social inequity, this qualifies me to uphold what I believe in on this issue, and so many other issues pertinent to egalitarianism as well!!... When Rosa Parks refused to give her seat up some fifty years ago, she was not imbued by some lofty idealism, rather, she enforced her rudimentary insight to justifiably object to what she felt was a horrible injustice!! Rosa Parks serves as a shining inspiration to many Americans, and she has instilled in them, the indispensable spirituality, to covet the privilege of freedom, and to cherish the right of equality!!!
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A Triumphant Time, Not Too Long Ago
bkoganbing31 July 2009
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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Angela Bassett is fine in the title role of The Rosa Parks Story which should make a fine history lesson for students
tavm29 February 2008
In continuing to review in chronological order the achievements of African-Americans in film and television for Black History Month, we're now at 2002 with The Rosa Parks Story, written by Paris Qualles, directed by Julie Dash, and starring Angela Bassett who also serves as an executive producer. We follow the woman born Rosa McCauley's life story from when she was a child (as played by Charde Manzy) attending an all-colored-(as they were described as then)girls Catholic school with a Caucasian female teacher to her marriage to Raymond Parks (Peter Francis James) to her first confrontation with the mean white bus driver (Sonny Shroyer in a role very much different from deputy 'Dipstick' Enos on "The Dukes of Hazzard") to her arrest from that same driver with police backup. That first scene with Shroyer was really frightening with the way he treats her when she refuses to go to the back entrance to get back on because of the hard rain outside. Another intense scene is one that takes place after the famous incident when Rosa answers the phone that rings for a long time and looks shocked after she puts the receiver to her ear. Everything about Ms. Parks as performed by Bassett rings true here. Also fine is Mr. James as husband Raymond who's charming when he first courts Rosa even when she constantly refuses to see him and then is initially hesitant when he realizes the consequences of his wife's actions. And then there's the great Cicely Tyson, Miss Jane Pittman herself, who delivers perhaps the most inspirational speech as Leona McCauley to her daughter near the end of the movie. That and Dexter Scott King portraying his father Dr. Martin Luther make The Rosa Parks Story a very compelling movie biography. As an added treat, we see President Bill Clinton, in his second-to-last State of the Union address, acknowledging Ms. Parks in the audience and saying she can sit anywhere she wants! With all that said, I highly recommend The Rosa Parks Story to anyone with an interest in American history's darkest days and the good that resulted when someone did something to help put an end to it. And of course to any fan of Ms. Bassett. P.S. Peter Francis James is, like me, a Chicago native.
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Outstanding biopic about one of the greatest civil rights leaders of all time
Catherine_Grace_Zeh5 December 2005
THE ROSA PARKS STORY, in my opinion, is an outstanding biopic about one of the greatest civil rights leaders of all time. The performances were smashing, the soundtrack was great, and the casting was just right. Anyway, if you ask me, it was cruel that Rosa (Angela Bassett) had to give up her bus seat after a long day at work. I would probably take a stand myself if I were in her shoes. However, she managed to make something out of it. If you want to know what that something is, you'll have to see the movie. In conclusion, if you are a die-hard fan of Angela Bassett, I heartily recommend this outstanding biopic about one of the greatest civil rights leaders of all time. You're in for a real treat and a good time, so don't miss this one.
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The best movie I've seen this year!
dmnqdv24 February 2002
I just got through watching this movie, and I must say that I was quite surprised. Angela Bassett was wonderful as MRS Parks, and so was Cicely Tyson, who played her mother. If you don't do anything else for Black History Month, please watch this movie, it's well worth it!
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An Amazing Performance!
sassychica98224 February 2002
The performance of Angela Bassett and the other actors in the movie was great. They portrayed the parts of the story that most people do not know. It brought out so many emotions, I could hardly control them. Like Rosa, I'd refuse to leave my seat, rather my sofa], as well.
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Outstanding movie, with beautiful performances
longcooljolie21 January 2013
This morning, a cable channel showed "The Rosa Parks Story" since it fits in so well with Martin Luther King day.

The movie drew me in and kept me in my seat until the very last scene. While most people are aware of Ms. Parks' historical significance, the famous bus scene forms a centerpiece for the movie which is deftly surrounded by events from her childhood, her marriage to Raymond, and a stirring scene with her mother around the time of the turmoil.

It would have been so easy for such a movie to descend into preaching or overly lionize Ms. Parks. Instead, she is portrayed as a woman simply asserting her dignity as a human being. The casting for the movie was extremely strong since Angela Bassett (Rosa), and Cicely Tyson (her mother, Leona) are great actresses and Peter Francis James also does well as Raymond Parks.

Through haunting flashbacks and a scene showing Ms. Parks's struggles to register to vote, the producers succeed in showing an ugly era in America's social history without over-sensationalizing. They also manage to show that many white people in Montgomery extended kindness to her, including a wealthy woman customer at the store where she worked and an attorney who helped out with the court case.

Many scenes are emotionally stirring: you'd better have a box of tissues handy for this one!
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A good story, not so great directing.
Hunky Stud13 July 2008
I didn't plan to write a comment at first, but when I saw one big mistake the director did, I was compelled to write one as soon as I finished watching. I am surprised that no one at that time said anything to the director. It was so obvious.

This scene was about Rosa Parks who had to walk several miles in the rain at night, after the bus driver threw her out of the bus. She walked into her home without the wet umbrella. She was wearing some fancy looking dry coat, and her hat looks dry. Her shoes look shiny with no water drop or mud on them. Her hair looked fine and dry. When she took off her coat, her clothes also looked dry. Most importantly, after she took off her "wet" coat, her husband just hung it on the coat hanger with all the other dry coats. There was no water drops on the floor, either.

The casting director did a good job by picking those few good white actors. I especially like the one who worked at the voter registration office, she really acted well, had that look. I also liked the one who worked at the white only library. However, the director failed to tell us what happened eventually when Rosa parks took a bunch of children to a while only library. We only saw them trying to check out books, but what happened afterward? Were they allowed to check out the books or not? This is a good real life story. If it was done well, it could have made the audiences to cry, but it failed to do so. The first half of the movie was well directed. After she refused to give up her seat on the bus, the story failed to focus the whole movement. It spent most time on her personal life. It should have showed us how her action led to the whole civil rights movement, what happened at the court, what other blacks did other than refusing to ride the bus. And what happened to NAACP, those people just seemed to disappear from her life entirely.
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A Great Civil Rights Movie!
leighabc12310 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
(Spoilers Ahead!!)

Once again, Angela Bassett does a great job portraying a strong black woman! She should have won an Oscar for all of the great roles she played in! I learned a little while watching this movie. December 1, 1955 wasn't the first time Rosa Parks was put off a bus. She was put off the bus in 1941 by an evil white bus driver. She had to walk five miles in the rain to get home! Imagine if Rosa Parks' husband didn't sell his car. We would probably have another person who would be the mother of the Civil Rights movement. It was cool to see Martin Luther King Jr.'s son Dexter play MLK in this movie. His daughter Yolanda King played Rosa Parks in the movie, King.
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great civil rights film
z_babygurl1821 February 2005
The choir in the movie sounded very good. They should get credit for all the hard work that they put into the soundtrack of the film. They traveled for hours just to make it to the set. they set and waited for long hours, voices drained, and they still managed to sound incredible. they were talked about and criticized, but they overcame all the negative comments and still did their thing. they should at least appear on the credits. they stayed up all night on a school night just to record the soundtrack. that's dedication. the central high school show choir from Tuscaloosa, Alabama should get recognition for their incredible work and their outstanding voices. Mrs. Jocqualine Richardson, the director, does a wonderful job with these young kids.
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Very Good Film That makes you think!
les69694 January 2011
Angela Bassett really does an excellent job of portraying this strong yet gentle woman who stood up for what was right. She was not the first to refuse t give up her bus seat but hers was the one that got things to change. America should be rightly ashamed of their history and how they treated black people in the not so distant past ( those vile attitudes still exist in the minds of many, especially in the southern states )

Just what goes through a mans mind to expect a woman of any colour to give him her seat is beyond my thinking ( fortunately ) And the way she was treated when trying to get to vote is shameful ( some would say that still happens today, look at the illegality of what happened in Florida when Bush Jr stole the Presidency )

Americans you should hang your heads in shame. Watch this film and learn from it.
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Moving story about a courageous woman Warning: Spoilers
I happened to be flicking the movie channel during the day to find this this poignant film about a woman who's legacy still lives on today. Angela Basset is superb as Rosa Parks and manages to convey the injustice magnificently. I often felt really involved, if not infuriated and frustrated at their treatment. I still find it hard to believe that the world could have acted like the segregation was acceptable. The relationship that develops between her and Raymond is wonderfully acted and I think that the back stories of Rosa as a child add another element to this well directed and acted story. My favourite part has to be the end with the information about Rosa in the present as it adds a lovely touch to the film. Definitely well worth a watch.
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Separating Rosa Parks the Woman from "The Rosa Parks Story"
view_and_review4 February 2021
This movie would dovetail nicely into a movie titled "Boycott" (2001) starring Jeffrey Wright, Terrence Howard, CCH Pounder, and Carmen Ejogo. "Boycott" focused on the Montgomery bus boycott itself and Martin Luther King, Jr. "The Rosa Parks Story" is about Rosa Parks' life culminating with the fateful day she decided not to yield her seat to a white man and the historic events that occurred afterwards.

Rosa Parks is one of two or three Black historical figures that we hear about every February (MLK is the other). It's pretty pathetic that the same two or three figures keep getting recycled year after year as though no other African Americans existed. But even with that, I never knew ANYTHING about Rosa Parks except that she was the impetus behind the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott of 1955-56.

Still, not everyone's life makes for good viewing even if it makes for a good story. Rosa Parks' life falls under that category. What she did was monumental, even if she wasn't the first to do it. Rosa Parks just so happened to have the image needed for a movement. TRPS alluded to the fact that Parks was good enough to rally behind.

I want to be sure that it's understood that my opinion of the movie is wholly separate from my opinion of Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks is unimpeachable in my opinion and I wouldn't dare say a bad word about her. TRPS, however, is an artist's depiction of her life put to celluloid. And it was just OK. It was a bit dull, as could be expected, and they made her husband out to be a sourpuss. Mr. Raymond Parks came off as selfish, unsupportive, and consequential anti-progress. I honestly don't know what kind of man he was since I NEVER heard of a Mr. Parks, just Rosa Parks. Truthfully, I didn't even know she was married.

I've seen well over a hundred biopics and biographical movies which gives me a cache of movies to compare to. TRPS couldn't really compare to some of the better biopics out there. They could not have chosen a better lead actress in Angela Bassett, but a good lead doesn't equal a slam dunk of a movie. It isn't a bad movie, I just think it could've been so much better.
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Background Music drowns out the dialogue
wayno-618 January 2004
The background music for "The Rosa Parks Story" is so loud, it drowns out the dialogue between the actors. I put up with this for about 20 minutes, before I nuked the DVD completely.

This is a timely/relevant story - but I had to constantly ride the volume control. Surprisingly, the movie was NOT closed captioned, nor did it have an option for subtitles.

Pass on this movie -- The dialogue is too hard to pick out from the background music. (WAY TOO LOUD!)

Rated 1 star out of 5 (for effort!)

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a PMI for the fight for the rights!
pilaririgoyen25 February 2020
  • It started the movements in favor of, mainly, black people rights.
  • The Montgomery City Code that established racist principles changed.
  • The black community got encouraged to do a boycott of buses.
  • The black community got closer between them than ever before.
  • The nonviolent protest was a great advantage for her.
  • The African American leaders formed the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), which believed that Parks case provided an excellent opportunity to take further action to create real change.
  • It made everyone uncomfortable on the bus.
  • Even though the African American community was peaceful, it slowly became more aggressive with their movements.
  • After the incident, the African American community had to face up to a lot of problems because of the abusive cops and bus drivers.
  • Parks was arrested on December the first.
  • African Americans were asked to stay off city buses later that week on December 5, 1955, in protest of Parks´ arrest.
  • This little incident created a huge movement in the African American community.
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Intentionally Provocative to Illustrate the Life of One of Montgomery's Greatest Citizens
svikasha14 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"The Rosa Parks Story" is an exceptional film that portrays the life of one of America's greatest Civil Rights figures. The film depicts this remarkable woman's life from her childhood to her rise in the Civil Rights Movement as she goes on to inspire the Montgomery Bus Boycott which to this day remains one of the most powerful examples of civil disobedience in national memory. Prior to the late 1960's much of the southern United States was deeply segregated with entrenched systematic discrimination against people of color. Rosa Parks helped spark the Civil Rights Movement in the south that culminated in creating a more progressive and tolerant country.

Early in the film, the movie briefly discusses the plight of the Scottsboro Boys who were a group of African American youth who were sentenced to death with little to no evidence for allegedly sexually assaulting two white women. The poor young men who were travelling migrant workers at the time of their arrest were eviscerated by the deeply racist legal system of Alabama and would have been unjustly executed if it weren't for the intervention of the Communist Party in the United States. This story is depicted in the Hollywood film "Heaven Falls". As portrayed in "The Rosa Parks Story", the NAACP tried to assist these boys. But like so many black youth who were swept up by the racist violence that was a regular feature of the south at the time, the NAACP's efforts provided no avail. After witnessing a series of humiliating and deeply harrowing experiences, Rosa Parks transforms on-screen in the film from a young women into a leader who begins her Civil Rights career as a secretary for the NAACP.

The "Rosa Parks Story" is powerful because it took the time to remind the viewers of the reason why so many black folk depended on the bus system in the south. Poverty was one major reason. But even if a black man managed to save up for a personal car, by owning a car these men became targets for police and hoodlums. It wasn't easy being a colored person who owned a car. This fact is demonstrated in "The Rosa Parks Story" when Rosa Parks' husband is humiliated by police officers in front of her. Rosa Parks sets out to change this broken system. She starts by changing Montgomery's segregated bus system.

The talented actress Angela Bassett deserves praise for her performance which captured the class and dignity that Rosa Parks displayed throughout her entire life. It isn't easy to portray such a remarkable historical figure. The slow piano music that graces the background is kind of unimaginative. But the movie doesn't lack passion. This movie will make you angry if you have a conscience. But that is kind of the point. There was a time when colored people could not try on shoes in public stores or even share water fountains at public parks. There was a time when color folks got lynched by mobs or electrocuted to death for the slightest perceived transgressions. America has a dark history of injustice that shouldn't be hidden by a veil. "The Rosa Parks Story" as a film does justice to the history.

One thing the movie gets right is bringing up Colvin Claudette, the fifteen year old girl who was the first person arrested for refusing to give up her seat in Montgomery. The main reason Rosa Parks became a champion of the Civil Rights Movement was her impeccable character. Unlike for others, nobody could ever accuse Rosa Parks of being a criminal. That poignant fact made her arrest all the more awakening. Even Rosa waivers in the film when confronted with the choice to give up her seat to a white man at the greatest moment of her lifetime. She couldn't have known that her moment of indecision would be one of the most powerful moments in the civil rights movement. As Rosa contemplates giving up her seat, other bus riders, even black ones, beg her to give up her seat. They just want to go about their daily routine without a fuss. But that reluctance for change was precisely the problem. After the fateful day of December 1, 1955, their daily routines would never be the same again. The greatest line in the film happens during an argument between Rosa and her caring husband who rudely admonishes her by stating, "You're not Harriet Tubman god **** it". She replies, "No, I'm only Rosa Parks".
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Angela Bassett WAS Rosa Parks
plutus194723 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
It is sometimes amazing how the tiniest act of defiance can literally move mountains.


This is the true story of Rosa Parks a young black woman who refused to move from a seat designated 'whites' only on a public transport bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

The bus service in Alabama had made a rule that black people who rode on their transport were only allowed to sit in seats designated 'black' only, normally at the rear of the bus.

Rosa Parks got on one of these buses and found there was nowhere to sit in the black area so she decided to sit in a seat which were for use of whites only.

When the driver ordered her to get up she refused and was subsequently arrested, charged and fined $14.00.

She immediately became a heroine to the black people in Alabama, and eventually the world.

This was the catalyst which spurred Martin Luther King to start The Civil Rights Movement, which was ultimately to cost him his life.


The wonderful Angela Bassett played the role of Rosa Parks. This was an act of pure genius on the part of the casting agents because I cannot believe that any other actress could have played the part of Rosa Parks better.

Angela was also one of the Executive Producers.

The indomitable Cicely Tyson played Leona Edwards McCauley, Rosa's mother and as expected played her part to perfection.

The remaining cast were flawless in their acting and the direction was perfect.

I have no hesitation in giving this movie 10 stars and even though this movie was made 14 years ago I believe it is as relevant now as it was then.


Her act of defiance resulted in the black community in Montgomery boycotting the buses for a year and none used them. They preferred to walk, no matter how far they had to go or what the weather was. This resulted in the owners of the buses rescinding their segregation due to the amount of revenue they were losing.

Her defiant act also spurred Martin Luther King into forming the Civil Rights Movement.

In 1999 Rosa was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the USA's highest honour.

She was Inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia in 2004.

Had two schools named after her.

Rosa died at age 92 of natural causes although she did suffer from dementia in later life and was interred at Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan.

In February 2013 a no denominated (forever) stamp was issued valued on issue at 46c, This was issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Rosa's birth.
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