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Remembering Rosa Parks
Remembering Rosa Parks
Posted on 02/20/2020
A local actress brought history to life for students through her dramatic  portrayal of civil rights activist Rosa Parks.By: Benjamin Rickert, BCS Communications 
Featured Photo: Rosa Parks, Library of Congress, Public Domain. Other photos by Benjamin Rickert.

Actress Becky Stone portrays Rosa Parks at North Buncombe Elementary School.A local actress brought history to life at North Buncombe Elementary through her dramatic February 13 portrayal of civil rights activist Rosa Parks. With a single microphone placed in the school’s amphitheater, Ms. Becky Stone of Fairview commanded the attention of third- and fourth-grade classes, and taught important lessons about equality, dignity, and American history.

“I’m hoping that this will give them a sense of how different it was — how very small actions led to the civil rights movement,” Stone said prior to the performance. “In our history, [this was when] negroes pulled together to take action. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was very significant.”

Playing the role of Parks, Stone gave an emotional first-person account of the famous 1955 arrest in Montgomery, Alabama, when Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. She explained to the students that the seats in the back of the bus were labeled ‘Colored Only,’ while the more easily accessed seats in the front were reserved for white passengers.

Actress Becky Stone portrays Rosa Parks at North Buncombe Elementary School.“The 16 seats in between were the mixed seats,” Stone said into the microphone. “Anyone could sit there until a white person wanted the seat. Now, if a white person sat down on the other side of the aisle, we had to move. It was against the law to sit in the same row as a white person.”

Stone also spoke about how the act inspired Montgomery’s black community to boycott the city bus system for more than a year and contributed to legal efforts against segregation laws. Parks later collaborated with Martin Luther King Jr., worked for African-American Congressman John Conyers, and in 1996 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton. Rosa Parks passed away on October 24, 2005.

Actress Becky Stone grew up in Philadelphia, and raised her four children in Fairview, North Carolina with her husband. She credits her storytelling career to a Pack Library librarian who asked her to volunteer for a ‘story hour’ more than 30 years ago. Since then, she has acted, danced, and sung for local and regional theater productions, and portrayed historical figures like Rosa Parks, Pauli Murray, Harriet Tubman, and Maya Angelou.

Actress Becky Stone portrays Rosa Parks at North Buncombe Elementary School.“I love having young adults come up to me and say, ‘Didn’t you tell stories at my school when I was a kid?’” she said.

North Buncombe students will continue studying Rosa Parks throughout Black History Month. The event was organized by North Buncombe media coordinator Ms. Angela Woehl and third grade teacher Ms. Dawn Hensley.

“Black history is our history,” Woehl said. “This event serves to educate and elevate the students of North Buncombe Elementary School.”

Learn more about Rosa Parks from the United States National Archives.

    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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