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This past Tuesday January 24, distinguished professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College spoke about her book “The Rebellious Life of Rosa Parks.” She begins began her talk recounting a story of Rosa Parks’ youth when she decided to stay up late with her grandfather, who sat armed on the family porch to protect the family while they slept from white violence. Young Rosa said that wanted to seetheoharris him shoot a ku kluxer. Theoharis argued throughout her talk that the “national fables” constructed about Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement are “dangerous” and comfortable.” Comfortable in that they reduce a lifelong radical activist like Parks to a tired woman on a bus and dangerous because they are used to silence contemporary movements for social justice such as Black Lives Matter. She believes today peple need an example like Rosa Parks, but that we must accurately understand her life. Later in her life, Theoharis states that Rosa Parks described Detroit as the “Northern Promise Land that wasn’t,” illustrating another one of those national fables: that racism was isolated to the South. When finished, Theoharis was awarded a round of applause by the audience and then proceeded to take questions.

By Nicole Farley, senior, and edited by Dr. Nicole Jackson