Overarching Question: How do past personal experiences affect a person’s actions and beliefs? How do Rosa Parks’ actions affect the lives of people today?

Rosa Parks is best known for her calm act of defiance when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery bus in 1955. A collection of journal entries and other personal documents now at the Library of Congress reveal a different persona of Parks. According to this article, she had a very different personality than how she was depicted in public.

Article: Rosa Parks documents reveal the fury behind image of stoic protester

 Tip: Assign Instructions

Understanding the article: Comprehension Questions  

Middle and high school (grades 7, 9, 12)

  • In the article, history expert Adrienne Cannon describes Rosa Parks as having a “militant voice.” Choose the line from the article that BEST demonstrates Parks’ “militant voice” and explain why you chose it.
  • Write a sentence that summarizes why Rosa Parks’ journals are historically important.
  • Who do you think is the intended audience for this article? Which lines from the text support your answer?

Elementary school (grades 2 and 5)

  • What were the events that caused Rosa Parks to be arrested?
  • Why did the author include the quotes from history expert Adrienne Cannon?
  • The author wrote that “Rosa Parks was more angry than she seemed.” What did the author mean by this?

 Tip: Shared Annotations

Classroom Activity: Text It

Using what your students now know about Rosa Parks, how do they think she felt before, during, and after her arrest when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger?

Imagine Rosa Parks lived today. Recreate what could have been a text message conversation between Rosa Parks and her family or friends after she was released from jail. You can use this website  http://ifaketext.com/ to create the conversation or a template of your own. Try your best to describe what occurred on the bus that day through Rosa Parks’ perspective.

Guiding Questions:

  • How was Rosa Parks feeling when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger? Why?
  • Do you think she knew the effect her actions would have on history?
  • Why did she refuse to give up her seat on that particular day?

 Tip: Customized Write Prompt

Primary Sources

Montgomery Police Report, Dec. 1, 1955, page 1 
Montgomery Police Report, Dec. 1, 1955, page 2
Fingerprint card of Rosa Parks

Guiding Questions:

  • Based on the details of the police report, do you agree with the arrest of Rosa Parks? Why or why not?
  • Which perspective is represented in these reports? What stands out to you?
  • What do you notice about the words and language used in these reports? How does it reveal more about the times in which Rosa Parks lived?

 Tip: Monitor student progress from these activities by viewing your Teacher Binder

Powered by Zendesk