Wow! Where to start? I had been dreading this episode, concerned that SJW influences would make the sober historical reality into a preachy anti-white male diatribe. But I needn’t have worried. Malorie Blackman – author of a series of dystopian young adult books – has penned an incredible tale with series showrunner Chris Chibnall. Rosa centres on the the pivotal actions of Rosa Parks in what is a welcome return to the ‘historicals’ that early Who used regularly to great effect. Indeed it was part of the original Sixties series’ remit to educate its watchers, many of whom would be children after all. This new series really has taken the show back to its roots and it’s all the stronger for it. It’s made this Who fan fall in love with it all over again.
For anyone who doesn’t know the background, Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an African American citizen living in Montgomery, Alabama, in the 1950s. This was a time of deep racial divisions and inequality between white people and people of colour – predominantly black people. Rosa had been a law-abiding civil rights activist with NAACP for over 10 years.
Buses back then were segregated into white and black seating areas in a sort of potted apartheid on wheels. If the bus became full, black people had to give up their seat for white people. Not doing so was a criminal offence. On December 1st 1955, Rosa was particularly tired after a hard day’s work and was travelling on her regular route home. Her bus was quickly filling up with white passengers and soon Rosa was told to give up her seat and move to the black person’s area at the back of the bus. She refused twice and she was forcibly arrested. This act of defiance sparked the ‘Montgomery Bus Boycott’ and lead to civil rights changes.
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