The black-and-white photograph of Rosa Parks on the bus looks familiar.
She’s staring forward, reenacting her moment in history as if preparing for a place in a grade school textbook on the civil rights movement, conservatively dressed in a hat and patterned dress, holding her handbag tightly on her lap so as not to bother anyone.
But her words, written in her journals and letters at roughly the same period as her 1955 arrest, show a far more provocative and wounded Parks, who sees the daily humiliations of segregation in Montgomery, Ala., as soul-crushing, to the point that “the line between reason and madness grows thinner.”
“Such a good job of ‘brain washing’ was done on the Negro, that a militant Negro was almost a freak of nature to them, many times ridiculed by others of his own group,” she wrote.
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