Julie Dash Will Direct a Long Overdue Rosa Parks Biopic Focused On Her Early Activism

Rosa Parks fingerprinted by police in 1955, two months after she refused to give up her bus seat for a white passenger / Image via AP

Daughters of the Dust director Julie Dash has signed on to direct a seriously overdue biopic about Rosa Parks’s early activism.

Previously Dash had directed the 2002 CBS Rosa Parks biopic starring Angela Bassett, The Rosa Parks Story. But there was a lot more to Parks’s story, Dash tells Deadline, that she just couldn’t fit into the movie. This forthcoming biopic will focus on Rosa Parks’s activism before she made history by refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery bus, with a script based on Danielle McGuire’s book At the Dark End of the Street.

Parks was a prolific activist her entire life, later working for the NAACP in the 1940s, which is something that often gets lost in textbook blurbs about her. She fought for the rights of women like Recy Taylor, a young woman from Alabama who was gang-raped by a group of white men and the subject of a new documentary, and Joan Little, a 20-year-old woman who went to trial for killing a white guard who sexually assaulted her. And Dash says the new biopic will focus on Parks’s activism as well as that of many other civil rights activists of the time, like Jo Ann Robinson and Claudette Colvin, creating an “ensemble cast of feisty activists who changed the course of history.”

“One of the reasons this story is being told is so that people can connect the dots and see that there’s a continuum,” Dash told Deadline about the importance of the movie now. “Maybe it’s not the back of the bus, but the hypocrisy is the same, the racism is the same, the systemic oppression is the same, and the rape cases are absolutely the same.”

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Hazel Cills

Pop Culture Reporter, Jezebel