The authentic representation brought to life the personality of Rosa Parks, an activist in the Civil Rights Movement. She was called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement” by the United States Congress in honor of her pivotal decision in 1955 to disobey a bus driver’s order to give up her seat in the “colored section” to a white passenger in Montgomery, Ala.
Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery bus boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town at that time!
In her portrayal, Tolliver embodies Parks as a modest realist whose actions were empowered by their call to recognize basic human rights. “It was nothing I did, it was what everyone else in the country did who knew that what was going on was wrong,” said Tolliver as Parks.
Sherrie Tolliver joined Women In History in 1994 and has accumulated a rich cadre of characters. Her favorite characters are “the ones who have a rags-to-riches theme in their lives. These women inspired me because they triumphed over incredibly difficult circumstances at a time when being poor, black and female usually meant most doors of opportunity were closed. They dared to dream big dreams and refused to take “no” for an answer,” she says. Her cast of characterizations includes Harriet Beecher Stowe and Olympian Wilma Rudolph among others. Ms. Tolliver has a BFA in acting from New York University where she minored in African-American History.
Visit Women in History at womeninhistoryohio.com and learn about their commitment to education through the dramatic recreation of the lives of notable women in the history of the United States of America.