Fairfield University
| February 2015 | Fairfield University News Channel

"The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks" — Lecture March 4

By Lauren Houck ’15 

There is a strong, preconceived notion that historical icon, Rosa Parks, was an “accidental hero” during the Civil Rights Movement. However, Parks’ activism was well-established twelve years before her famous arrest when she first joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) of Montgomery, Alabama. 

To commemorate Black History Month and Women’s History Month, Dr. Jeanne Theoharis, distinguished professor of political science at CUNY Brooklyn, will discuss Parks’ activism detailed in her acclaimed book, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. This free lecture will take placeon Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 7 p.m. in the Kelley Center Presentation Room. 

Dr. Anna Lawrence, associate professor of history and co-director of the Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, said, “We are delighted to have Dr. Theoharis as a guest speaker at Fairfield. Her book is considered the definitive biography of Rosa Parks, because she is the first scholar to examine Rosa Parks’ entire lifetime. What she found was an activist who was so much more than a symbol of rebellion. Dr. Theoharis reveals an incredibly moving portrait of commitment and the depth of an activist soul, one that should inspire Fairfield students to uncover their own radical roots.” 

As an expert in African American history and urban studies, Dr. Theoharis has authored a number of books and articles regarding civil rights and Black Power movements, the politics of race and education, and social welfare and civil rights in America after 9/11. 

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, which received the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/Autobiography and the 2013 Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians, examines Parks’s life of political activism prior to the ground-breaking moment in 1955 in Montgomery, AL, where she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus. 

Dr. Elizabeth Hohl, visiting assistant professor of history, said, “Dr. Theoharis provides much needed perspective on an iconic figure that all too often slips from view. She reminds us of the deep, lifelong commitment Parks made to social justice.” 

This lecture, free and open to the public, is sponsored by The Humanities Institute; Black Studies Program; Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program; American Studies Program; English Department; History Department; Honors Program; Peace and Justice Program; Politics Department; and Sociology Department.

* Mrs. Rosa Parks pictured during her arrest, mug shot, and fingerprinting for her December 1, 1955 act of civil disobedience.

Last modified:  Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:39:00 EST

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