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The Maid and Mr. Charlie: Rosa Parks and Sexual Violence

Rosa Parks wrote an essay about how she escaped from a man who tried to sexually assault her. Is it just a story, as some would have us think? Or is it a true testimony of a personal experience? I spoke with NPR’s “The Takeaway” about Rosa Parks and the essay that describes her resistance to “Mr. Charlie”, as she called him, while she worked as a domestic in Alabama in the 1930s. Parks describes in remarkable detail how she fought off “Mr. Charlie,” a derogatory term. And she said that she would rather die than give her consent. This remarkable essay highlights Rosa Parks’s long history of resistance to, and her understanding of the intersectionality of white supremacy and provides context for her work as an anti-rape activist in the 1940s and 1950s.