Rosa Parks was neither tired, frail, nor old when she she helped crack open a new chapter in the American Civil Rights Movement, by refusing to move to the back of a Montgomery, Alabama bus in 1955. West Virginia artist Sassa Wilkes painted Parks as part of her tour-de-force portrait series, “100 Badass Woman,” featuring portraits of 100 notable women in world history, from politics to culture, science to activism.
In the segment (below), pulled from a 20-minute a WestVirginiaVille.com documentary “100 Days of Badass Women,” Sassa says painting Rosa Parks was a breakthrough in crafting her portrait series. She proceeds to critique the inaccurate, too-common re-telling of her accomplishment. The true story of her stalwart moment on that Alabama bus was far more powerful than a supposed frail Black lady sitting where she shouldn’t.
This video is Part 2 of WestVirginiaVille.com’s February 2021 Black History Month coverage. Here are parts 1 and 3:
BLACK HISTORY 1: ‘I was first-class in my own mind” How a kid named Joe Turner from West Virginia coal mine country got jazzed by legendary ace pilot Chuck Yeager and a boyhood friend who went on to become a war hero —and find his own way by heading into the sky. A reprint of a 2019 “100 Days in Appalachia” story on Turner’s induction into the WV Aviation Hall of Fame, followed by an excerpt from Joe’s memoir of growing up in West Virginia.
BLACK HISTORY 3: Name Change View our 2020 mini-doc, “WHAT’S IN A NAME: A West Virginia Community Confronts a Confederate Legacy,” which delves into America’s deeply embedded, institutional racism and the effort to strip Confederate general Stonewall Jackson’s name from a school in a mostly Black neighborhood in West Virginia’s capital city. The mini-documentary has been added to the 2021 Phoenix Film Fest in Toronto.