The 10 Best Documentaries About Rosa Parks

Nov 9, 2023 | Best Of, Celebrities, History, Political

The civil rights movement inspired many stories that need to be told. One of the most inspiring is the story of Rosa Parks. As an African American woman who refused to sit in a segregated bus, she was arrested and became a symbol for the fight for racial justice in America. It’s no wonder then that her legacy has been immortalized in documentaries, giving us an insight into her courageous fight and the greater civil rights movement. Here, we present 10 of the best documentaries that tell Rosa Parks’ story in an informative yet inspiring way. From personal interviews to archival footage, these films give us a powerful window into history while reminding us why her legacy must live on

1. The Incredible Story Of Rosa Parks

Years later, her story has been commemorated in several documentaries, both on a large and small scale. These films delve into the life of Parks before and beyond that fateful day, celebrating her contributions to civil rights progress and exploring how her legacy lives on today. In 2002, PBS released “Rosa Parks: The Life & Times”, which celebrates the life and legacy of this iconic woman. This documentary takes viewers through her childhood, her adult years as a seamstress in Montgomery, the landmark bus incident itself, and finally to what Parks accomplished afterwards. It was broadcast across the country, and featured interviews with many people who knew her personally. Several feature films have also been made about Rosa Parks.


2. Rosa Parks documentary – Demystifying the historic bus ride

The Eyes on The Prize Documentary Collection is an important record of African American history. The six-hour series begins with the 1954 Supreme Court decision of Brown vs Board of Education to desegregate American schools and ends in 1985 with its 15th episode, “A Nation of Law?”. The 11th episode, “Bridge To Freedom,” is especially important as it covers the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 and 1956 – when Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat, thereby sparking a movement of civil rights activism. The documentary series Freedom Riders features interviews with activists like John Lewis and Hank Thomas, who were part of the 1961 Freedom Riders movement – a nonviolent protest to challenge the segregation of interstate bus travel. Rosa Parks is also featured in this documentary, and her role in sparking civil rights activism is explored.


3. New Film Explores Untold Radical Life of Civil Rights Icon

The show was one of the first to provide an in-depth look at Rosa Parks, and they produced a comprehensive documentary about her life. It follows her journey as she became an icon of the civil rights movement, from her refusal to give up her seat on the bus in 1955 to later becoming a symbol for millions of people around the world who are fighting for racial justice and equality. The documentary is an important piece of history that sheds light on Parks’ story, including her struggles and successes in the fight for civil rights. It paints a vivid picture of her incredible courage during the height of Jim Crow-era segregation and her dedication to making sure future generations had equal opportunities.


4. The real story of Rosa Parks – The Marc Steiner Show

In a candid conversation with Marc Steiner, experts Jeanne Theoharis and Yoruba Richen reflect on the legacy of Rosa Parks. They discuss her activism throughout the 1950s and 1960s, including her involvement in Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Freedom Riders Movement, and more. In addition to discussing Parks’ life and work, they also touch upon how history has glossed over her contributions to the civil rights movement and how a more complete understanding of her activism can be used to shape current social justice movements. Furthermore, they provide insight into the current state of civil rights activism in America and how it is different than in the past. This insightful conversation is sure to leave viewers with an appreciation for Rosa Parks’ legacy as well as a renewed commitment to the current civil rights movement. For those looking for an even more in-depth look at Rosa Parks’ life and work, there are several documentaries that can provide further insight into her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.


5. Rosa Parks – A Global Icon Who Stood Up To Tyranny

This landmark event eventually led to the U.S. Supreme Court declaring that segregated buses were unconstitutional in 1956. Following her arrest, Rosa Parks was widely admired for her civil rights activism and is often referred to as “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”. Many documentaries have been made about Parks’ life with some looking at her role in the civil rights movement and others focusing on her personal life.


6. Rosa Parks interview


7. Rosa Parks Collection – Telling Her Story at the Library of Congress

We can all use the example of her courage and commitment to inspire us to stand up for justice. This collection is an extraordinary opportunity to pay tribute to a great leader – Rosa Parks – and learn from her legacy. It is also a reminder that we must continue our fight for equal rights and social justice. Let’s take inspiration from her life, honor her legacy, and work together to ensure that all people are treated with respect and dignity. Together, let us use her example of unflinching determination as a call to action for civil rights in the 21st century. Let us continue Mrs. Parks’ legacy by standing up for what we believe is right – no matter how daunting the odds may be.


8. The Story of Rosa Parks – Standing up for Freedom on the Learning Videos Channel

This documentary offers an overview of how Rosa Parks inspired the people of Montgomery, the United States, and the world. In this film, viewers explore the inspirational story of Rosa Parks from her early childhood to her arrest in 1955 that sparked a revolution. Through interviews with contemporaries and experts, this program provides a nuanced look at Rosa’s life and activism. Learn about her work as a civil rights activist, her struggle against bus segregation laws, and her heroic stand for justice. Discover how Rosa’s actions resonated throughout the U.S., paving the way for the modern Civil Rights Movement.


9. Rosa Parks – Activist. Fighter. Hero.


10. Unknown Teen Who Rosa Parks Replaced, Claudette Colvin – Story You Should Know

The Rosa Parks Story is another excellent documentary that looks into the life of Rosa Parks as well as Claudette Colvin’s story. The film stars Angela Bassett as Parks, Cicely Tyson as her mother and Peter Francis James as Claudette Colvin. It was directed by Julie Dash and nominated for an Emmy Award in 2002. For those who are looking to learn more about the life of Rosa Parks, these documentaries can provide a great starting point. With powerful stories and compelling images, they will help to strengthen our understanding of both Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin, two women who fought for civil rights in their own unique way. But documentaries aren’t the only way to learn about Rosa Parks and her legacy. She has also been the subject of films such as ‘The Long Walk Home’, ‘A Life Interrupted’ and ‘The Legacy of Rosa Parks’.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B