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rebellious life of mrs rosa parks documentary
"The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks". (Credit: Peacock ProductionsSO'B Productions)
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‘The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks’ Makes Debut at Tribeca Film Festival (See the Trailer)

Documentary Challenges Longstanding Myths About Parks’s Christian Activism and Personality

“The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” based on the best-selling book of the same name, makes its debut at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

“Based on the bestselling biography by Jeanne Theoharis and executive produced by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien, this crucial documentary on the ‘mother of the Civil Rights movement,’ Rosa Parks, is a comprehensive telling of the icon’s lifelong dedication to activism,” reads the description on tribecafilm.com.

“The film chronicles her historic role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, her work in politics alongside Congressman John Conyers in Detroit, and the many causes along the way, such as voting rights and reparations, that she fearlessly championed until her death in 2005,” it adds.

The insightful documentary about the Christian activist features interviews with individuals like Bryan Stevenson, Patrisse Cullors, Ericka Huggins, and with Parks herself.

Screenings for “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks” begin on June 16. Viewers can watch the documentary in person at a NYC venue or via online or a streaming service.

Theoharis shared a trailer for the documentary on Twitter.

“The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks” was directed by Yoruba Richen (“The Green Book: Guide to Freedom”) and Johanna Hamilton (“1971”).

Rosa Parks gives a speech at the Poor Peoples March in 1968
Rosa Parks gives a speech at the Poor Peoples March in 1968. (Photo: Unseen Histories/Unsplash)

Theoharis’s book, published in 2013, won rave reviews for challenging longstanding myths about Parks’s personality and activism. The book proved so popular that a young adult edition was eventually published.

Among the revelations (for some) was that Parks’s activism was deeply rooted in her Christian faith.

According to Journey With Jesus:

Theoharis describes Parks as “a staunch and active Christian.” She carried her Bible with her, and was a lifelong member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. “That’s sort of in my family background, too,” said Parks, “the Lord’s power within me to do what I have done.”

She led a life of “rich and active worship” in both Montgomery and Detroit (where she was a deaconess). Her Christian faith nourished her beliefs in human dignity, equality, the long struggle against racism, and the “Christian responsibility to act.” She responded to death threats with a prolonged period of prayer in church, after which, writes Theoharis, “an intense calm swept over her.”

Theoharis spoke with Politics & Prose about her work on Parks earlier this year. Watch it in the player below or at YouTube.

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