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Online Class About Rosa Parks with Jeanne Theoharis

January 11, 2021 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm CST

On Jan. 11, 2021, at 4:00 pm PT / 7:00 pm ET, the Zinn Education Project will host a Teach the Black Freedom Struggle people’s history class with Professor Jeanne Theoharis, who will speak about Rosa Parks’ activism prior to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, her trip to the Highlander Folk School, and the decades she dedicated to challenging racism in the North.

Special Offer of Advance Copy of Young Readers Edition for Participants

This session is based on the young readers edition The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis and Brandy Colbert, to be released in February 2021.

Rosa Parks was a powerful, strategic, and dedicated activist whose witness inspired this nation to do things previously thought impossible. Jeanne Theoharis and Brandy Colbert have overturned simplistic descriptions of Mrs. Parks with extraordinary research, writing, and compassion. This is a must-read for young people hoping to understand the power we all have to make a difference. —Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy

To truly honor Mrs. Rosa Parks is to set the record straight. She was not an accidental heroine or just a tired old lady; she was a lifelong rebellious freedom fighter in every sense of the word. Theoharis has captured the beauty and complexity of Mrs. Parks’s life. Deeply researched and engaging, this rich chronicle of Mrs. Parks’s life is a page-turner for adults and youth alike. Theoharis and Colbert have told Mrs. Parks’s life with so much love, care, and truth telling. Bravo! —Bettina L. Love, author of We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom

Thanks to Beacon Press, participants can purchase advance, autographed copies of the young readers edition when they register. The list price for the book is $18.95 and it will be released in early February. The advance copies for Teach the Black Freedom Struggle class participants will be available for $17, including shipping! They will be shipped from the warehouse in early January.


As usual, this session is for 75 minutes. There will be breakout rooms for 12 minutes about half-way through the session to allow participants (in small groups of five or six) to meet each other, discuss the content, and share teaching ideas. We designed the sessions for teachers and other school staff, however, parents, students, and others are welcome to participate.

Rethinking School editor Bill Bigelow wrote a classroom lesson based on the book that is available for free download from the Zinn Education Project.

Previous Classes with Jeanne Theoharis

Theoharis helped the Zinn Education Project develop the very first people’s historians online classes at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Her previous online classes include Teenagers in the Civil Rights MovementRethinking Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and The Civil Rights Movement in the North. Here is some feedback from participants:

As always, Dr. Theoharis is such an encyclopedia and I feel like at this point there is such a community feel after all of these weeks.

I thought the connection to intersectionality and sexism that affected the ways that Rosa Parks was portrayed in history was very important. I also loved the last messages that Professor Theoharis shared about the importance of acting again and again and again as opposed to just focusing on one moment in history.

This was an incredible session. It was informative and invigorating. I am looking forward to many more. Thank you for making this accessible.

I learned so much about Watts that I didn’t know before. I’m inspired to dig deeper and learn even more. I was already committed to teaching “the long story” but it’s SO important to be mentored and encouraged, so I’m really grateful for today.

Dr. Theoharis and Mr. Hagopian do such an amazing job of making history come alive and help us see how to share these important stories with our students.


January 11, 2021
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm CST


The Zinn Education Project