Title: Rosa Parks: My Story
Author: Rosa Parks
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: History, Memoirs, Race
Dates read: 20th – 23rd November 2019
Publisher: Puffin Books
5th sentence, 74th page: All this was to keep African Americans from being able to register.
“The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus, sparking the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott. A year later, when the boycott finally ended, segregation on buses was ruled unconstitutional, the civil rights movement was a national cause, and Rosa Parks was out of a job. Yet there is much more to Rosa Parks’s story than just one act of defiance. In straightforward, moving language, she tells of her vital role in the struggle for equality for all Americans. Her dedication is inspiring; her story is unforgettable.
I’ve known the name Rosa Parks for years. It’s just one of those well-known names that you find impossible to forget. I didn’t really know much about her beyond the fact that she was a big mover in the world of equal rights and there was something to do with a bus. So, I was incredibly intrigued to read her biography. And I’m incredibly glad that I did – not only was it an engaging read, but it was also incredibly eye opening.
For someone who knows next to nothing about American history, this certainly helped to fill me in on some of the tensions that are still occurring throughout the country. I’ve been reading a lot of biographies and memoirs lately that seem to fill in this gap, but Rosa Parks: My Story was telling the same tale with no gloss whatsoever. Somehow, her frank, open honesty was so much more intense than any of the other books I’ve read so far. The rest try to politely talk about violence and racism, Parks doesn’t do this. She’s not angry or vindictive, but there is no softening the history and her experiences. As I said, there is just this intense honesty in her writing that I haven’t had the privilege to experience of late.
Although I’m not supremely interested in American history, I would still suggest this book to anyone. It is about race and standing up for yourself. Equality and understanding that you have the same rights as everyone else. Something that effects everyone, world-wide. Some of the racism that is experienced today might be more subtle, but many of Parks’ experiences are still relevant and need to be discussed. Definitely the kind of book I’ll pick up again and again.