Friday, February 5, 2010

African-American History Month Movie - The Rosa Parks Story

Title: The Rosa Parks Story
Author: Jaffe/Braunstein Films
Genre: Documentary

Angela Bassett plays the late Rosa Macauley Parks in this film highlighting her life. As a child, Rosa’s mom instilled in her, the love of learning. She developed confidence at an early age, which I think helped her to face the many challenges in life that she endured. The movie does lots of flashbacks to her childhood and will help to answer many of the questions in the movie.

In this movie, we see the courtship between Rosa and Raymond Parks. He brings flowers each day, but she refuses to see him. Finally, her mom allows him in to see Rosa and Rosa is shocked because she thought he had left like the many times before. They were married.

One particular incident in the movie unnerved me more than the bus incident in which she became a huge part of the civil rights movement. She goes to the court house on numerous occasions to register to vote and is always told she did not pass the test to become a registered voter. Anyway, she asks the clerk to tell her which answers she got wrong in order to correct them for the next time. The clerk was so nasty and told her that was against policy. Anyway, Rosa decided to copy the questions and answers on her final time taking the test to find out what she had gotten wrong. The clerk finally allowed her to receive her voter’s card when she threatened to get a lawyer and sue.

Rosa Parks is primarily known for refusing to give up her seat to a white man and was arrested. After her arrest, Parks became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement but suffered hardships as a result. She lost her job at the department store, and her husband quit his job after his boss forbade him from talking about his wife or the legal case.

This is a wonderful family as well as historical movie to watch. Many movies show the violent scenes of this time period, but some are to violent for children to watch. This movie has the violent parts, but they are implied in subtle ways without the actual scenes. This allows for open dialogue between the kids and the parents. You can explain what happens, but younger children are not exposed to things that are not easily explained. This is a must see movie, especially during African-American History Month.

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