Popova’s suggestion of Sontag’s piece — which is available at Popova’s site — lends depth to this assignment frequently lacking in high schools. The other link Popova offers takes us to the National Archives and their great bank of classroom materials, including a few more documents from the incident: “Teaching from Documents: An Act of Courage, The Arrest Records of Rosa Parks.
I like to use these materials around the anniversary of Parks’s arrest on December 1, which is out of sequence for the civil rights movement and a couple of months before Black History Month. I find it useful to talk about events on the anniversary of the events, especially to give students more than one pass at the material in class, and also to link whatever is being studied in sequence at that moment (often the Civil War in Texas classrooms) with later events, and current events, as a view in to the web of interlinked occurrences that really make up history. (Yes, I’m an advocate of dropping the name “Black History Month” and teaching it throughout the year; though a Black Heritage Appreciation Month is a help.)
Modern students seem to me to be particularly ill-informed on current events. Far too many of them do not read newspapers, not even the comics. This makes more important the classroom linking of past events with current events that students don’t know about, or fail to recognize the significance.
More, and other resources:
- “Sketches from the Chicago Teachers Strike: Rosa Parks,” Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, September 17, 2012
- “Oliver W. Hill, history maker, 100,” Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, August 6, 2007
- “Writing down the history: NAACP wants your story about Dr. King,” featuring a photo of Parks with King, MFB, January 20, 2013
- “December 1: Remembering when Rosa Parks stood up for history, by sitting down,” MFB December 1, 2010
- Highlander Research and Education Center, the civil rights and nonviolence training center; Parks was well schooled and well trained to lead out in civil rights. Her arrest was not a purely spontaneous spark, nor were the fires of the civil rights movement combusted from material that had not been organized. This is where organization for change often begins.
- President Obama: Rosa Parks statue dedication ‘a powerful moment’ for America (al.com)
- Rosa Parks Was Tired of Being Tired! (therealwithdarylanddevon.wordpress.com)
- My Rosa Parks moment in Sydney 2013 (abc.net.au)
- Little Known Black History Fact: U.S. Postal Stamp and Rosa Parks (blackamericaweb.com)
- Rosa Parks’ Stamp on American History (theroot.com)
- Rosa Parks’ History With Bus Driver (huffingtonpost.com)
- Rosa Parks To Become The 1st Black Woman To Get A Statue On Capitol Hill [PHOTOS] (hiphopwired.com)
- Rosa Parks was about more than a bus, and a seat (tv.msnbc.com)