Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words

Univ. of Georgia. Jan. 2020. 96p. ISBN 9780820356921. pap. $16.95. BIOG
Historian Reyburn offers a unique look at the life of African American civil rights activist Rosa Parks by examining her personal documents, letters, and photographs. Published in association with the Library of Congress and a companion to the exhibit of the same name, this biography offers an intimate glimpse of a woman whose notoriety and outspokenness belied her humility, and who would likely have balked at being labeled an “icon.” The work amply illustrates her lifelong commitment to equality and the heavy toll that such a deeply rooted commitment takes. The slim volume features a timeline and reproductions of primary source material from Parks’s collection, including photographs and documents. The immediacy of these writings—sometimes scrawled neatly on envelopes and assorted household items—is striking; Parks candidly reflects on her personal struggles and on her work in the civil rights movement, in which she remained an active participant until her death at age 92.
VERDICT Narrated in simple prose, this is concise yet moving tribute spotlights an inspiring progressive leader and demonstrates how the historical record should be studied. For readers of African American history of all ages.

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