Oprah Winfrey at the 75th Golden Globe Awards. In her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award, she told the story of activists Recy Taylor and Rosa Parks.
In 2001, director Julie Dash was making a TV movie called The Rosa Parks Story, which focused on how Parks started the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott. Parks, an African-American seamstress, inspired that historic protest in 1955 when she refused to give her seat on the bus to a white man, per city law.
In the script, Parks, then 42, explained that she simply wanted to sit down because her feet hurt. And that’s when Dash put her own foot down.
“I said, ‘That’s a myth. We are not going to say that,’” Dash tells Yahoo Entertainment. The acclaimed director (best known for her landmark independent film Daughters of the Dust) knew the truth: that Rosa Parks, an NAACP member with a decade of activism behind her, knew exactly what she was doing when she refused to stand up.
Furthermore, Parks wasn’t the first African-American woman to challenge the bus laws in Montgomery. Jo Ann Robinson, a school teacher, and Claudette Colvin, a high school student, had both protested after being forcibly removed from city buses for the crime of sitting down.