This lesson plan aligns with the episode “Rosa Parks: Myth and Memory in the American Civil Rights Movement“

  • Content area: History/U.S. 20th Century + Civil Rights
  • Target audience: 11th/12th grade or undergraduate survey
  • Suggested length: three periods


  • Identify the historical context of the 1955-1956 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycotts
  • Recognize the dominant portrayals of Parks’ motivations in refusing to relinquish her seat, as well as her background and depth of involvement in social and political agitation for racial parity
  • Analyze how depictions of Parks as simply “tired” or less calculated in her behavior diminish her agency as a longtime activist and decontextualize her role in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Trace how conceptions of Parks’ role align with wider efforts to depict the Civil Rights Movement as less radical, combative, or opposed than primary sources illustrate

The full lesson plan and materials, including primary source analysis activities, discussion questions, and more

Lesson plan developed by Hanna Van Reed