Julie Dash to Direct Film About the Early Activism of Rosa Parks

Long before she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks was an agent of change. Parks’ arrest on December 1, 1955 launched the Montgomery Bus Boycott by 17,000 black citizens and sparked the Civil Rights Movement.

However, a new film project directed by Julie Dash and based on Danielle L. McGuire’s book, At the Dark End of the Street: A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power, will recount Park’s early activism and the collective efforts of other black women who fought for equality.

“A decade before her iconic moment on the Montgomery bus, Rosa Parks was investigating the brutal rape of Recy Taylor and seeking justice on her behalf. This story of how the incredible bravery and collective action of Black Women sparked the Civil Rights movement will be brought to the big screen,” says a statement from Invisible Pictures, the company behind the film.

Dash is already well versed in the life and times of Ms. Parks. In 2002, the Daughters of the Dust filmmaker directed the television film, The Rosa Parks Story, for CBS. This year, Ava DuVernay tapped Dash to direct episodes of Queen Sugar, her hit dramatic series for OWN.

“There’s so much more to be told about the legacy of Rosa Parks, Jo Ann Robinson, and the southern women, from all walks of life, who dared to take control of the wheel of power,” said Dash. “Amplifying these voices, which have gone unheard for far too long, makes for a complex story, about the gender, class, and color politics of the Civil Rights Movement as told through a female lens.”

This Rosa Parks project announcement coincides with the release of the documentary, The Rape of Recy Taylor, in select theaters now.  As described by Deadline, the film is “the true story of a 24-year-old wife and mother who was gang raped in Alabama by six white men in 1944. The doc highlights the black women who waged war to take back their bodies and their dignity, and by speaking up helped inspire the civil rights movement that was to come.”

Taylor was kidnapped after leaving church and raped by the men. Despite two of them men admitting the rape to authorities, they weren’t charged.

According to Shadow and Act, the screenplay for the Parks project will be from Lisa Jones and producers include Audrey Rosenberg, Jess Jacobs and Rachel Watanabe-Batton. Gary Riotto is also producing, and he co-created the story with Lisa Jones.

“This film is exemplary of the kind of authentic storytelling you can expect to see from Invisible Pictures,” says Rosenberg. “We are honored to collaborate with Julie and this team to create the space for Black Women to tell their own stories.”

At this time it is unknown when production will begin.

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