Richardson explores Rosa Parks’ life in new animated video

The Hidden Life of Rosa Parks,” a new TED-Ed animated video written by Riché Richardson, associate professor of Africana studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, explores Parks’ work with the NAACP, bus boycotts and her lifelong fight against racial inequality.

“One of our goals with the project was to spotlight dimensions of Rosa Parks that are less familiar and to help viewers move beyond the myths,” Richardson said of the five-minute video, which uses muted colors and jazz music to give the piece a period feel.


Richardson – whose research interests include black feminism, Southern studies and the civil rights movement – has a personal connection to Parks. Her great aunt, Johnnie Rebecca Carr, was Parks’ best friend.

The video animation project began in May 2018, when TED-ed staff asked Richardson to join their team as an educator on the Parks project. Richardson wrote the preliminary video script, which was then condensed, revised and refined collaboratively.

TED-Ed animations are designed to reach and teach large audiences; the educators involved with the projects are invited to develop study tools to accompany the lessons, which challenge the audiences to dig deeper into the topic, Richardson said.

“TED-Ed videos are valuable tools for educators, and are even instructive and relatable for children,” she said. “TED-Ed resources are a valuable part of my toolbox as a professional.”

A visual artist, Richardson created an art quilt in 2013 celebrating the late civil rights icon’s 100th birthday. The quilt, “Rosa Parks, Whose ‘No’ in 1955 Launched the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Was Heard Around the World,” is on permanent display at the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.

Read the story in the Cornell Chronicle.

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