The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks – Tribeca 2022

Rosa Parks speaks at the Poor People's March on Washington in 1968. (Getty Images).

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, a Peacock original, is an in-depth documentary focusing on the legend in the Civil Rights movement.

In this long-overdue full-length documentary, filmmakers Yoruba Richen and Johanna Hamilton draw on the biography written by Jeanne Theoharis. The film, executive produced by Soledad O’Brien, is comprehensive in every aspect. It covers more than just the bus boycott, voting rights marches, and her time working for Congressman John Conyers (D-Mich.). This film doesn’t feel like a Wikipedia documentary but honestly, I found myself learning things about the mother of the Civil Rights movement while watching. But in fairness, some of it is probably information that I forgot since her death in 2005. In any event, this documentary is one of those films that everyone needs to watch. I know that the film is coming to Peacock this year but NBC would be smart to also broadcast it on TV, too.

Family members, activists, celebrities, and Rosa Parks Museum employees are among a number of interview subjects. There is a lot of archival footage in this film. But again, you cannot tell this film without depending on archival footage! This also includes exclusive audio of the civil rights legend.

In October 2005, Rosa Parks became the first woman and second Black American to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. This honor never happened for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he died! It was unprecedented for a civilian to have such an honor but she was only the second civilian to lie in state. Following the stay in DC, he body was flown to Detroit for her burial.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Shelby v. Holder on the day that her statue was erected at the Capitol in 2013. Talk about irony! But also, it speaks to where things stand today and they are only getting worse. Rosa Parks was a major player in the push for voting rights for Black Americans. The Supreme Court comes around and then turns its back on Black Americans by making it harder to vote. What makes her statue so significant is that she is the first Black person to receive a full statue–the first statue to be commissioned by Congress since 1873. For what it’s worth, Dr. King only has a bust. But even though she has a statue at the Capitol. it is technically not a part of the National Statuary Hall Collection.

Cut to 2022: Black Americans are still fighting for the right to vote. Red states are making it harder by the date. It should not be so hard to vote! Rosa Parks spoke out when it came to segregation and in the right to vote. Her legacy will never be forgotten. For more on the American battle for the right to vote, I suggest watching All In: The Fight for Democracy.

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks is a must-watch documentary and a meaningful contribution to films about important people in American history.

DIRECTORS: Yoruba Richen and Johanna Hamilton

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks holds its world premiere during the 2022 Tribeca Festival in the Juneteenth program. The film will premiere on Peacock in 2022. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.