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Rosa Parks - How Change Came by Melanie Clarke

An incredible script especially suitable as a presentation piece for assemblies, end of term performances, exam texts and for Black History Month.

Told using physical theatre, narration, sketches and flashback; Rosa Parks' story is an engaging, educational and innovative piece of theatre suitable for young casts of all ages. Accessible and fun for primary school casts with flexible casting and enough scope to develop non-naturalistic techniques for Secondary and college students. This script is an excellent educational tool, as well as an entertaining piece for audiences of all ages.

Sample pages

ROSA:  My name is Rosa Parks. I was born 50 years after slavery, in 1913. I was allowed to read. My mother was a teacher and she taught me when I was a very young child.


(Onstage, two members of the cast play Rosa as a child and her mother, Rosa is reading)


ROSA:   Free..dom. What does that mean Mama?


MAMA:   Freedom is what we ask for and of which we are denied.


ROSA:  I don’t understand.


MAMA:  Freedom is what we deserve…and what we shall have.”





NARRATOR: Once upon a time, in the Deep South of America, there lived a beautiful young Princess, called Rosa. Rosa had skin as smooth and rich as Mahogany, eyes as dark as Sapphires and hair as Black as Ebony….and long and straight too, not nappy and kinky like the average Princess.

Rosa was so beautiful, that wherever she went, people would stop and stare, as if transfixed by her beauty.


ROSA: Why are you staring at me?


WOODCUTTER: I am transfixed by your beauty!


NARRATOR: Rosa was pleased, and somewhat amused. Everywhere she went it was the same. Rosa couldn’t understand quite why, but she knew she must be rather special.


ROSA: I am rather special.


NARRATOR: But there was something different about Rosa. It set her apart from all other Princesses (of which there were many, even in the Deep South) for Rosa was not only beautiful, but clever too. She knew she could not live her life on looks alone and she planned to learn all she could and move on to bigger things.


ROSA: I will learn everything there is to know…(aside) and a little more besides.


NARRATOR: And she did. Rosa studied hard at….Princess School and soon she felt she had learnt all she needed to know. She would soon be free to show others what she had learnt. But clever as she was, something was about to test Princess  Rosa…


PRINCE: I have heard much about this Princess Rosa. She is said to be lovely and kind and people are transfixed by her beauty. I must meet her!


NARRATOR: And so the Prince travelled across many lands to the Deep South where Princess Rosa could be found. Along the way, he encountered many dangers, but being a true Prince, he met every one with amazing bravery and astounding courage. This Prince could face anything!


PRINCE: Finally, I have arrived.


NARRATOR: Finally, he arrived. Across a crowded field, he saw Rosa. He fought his way past those who were transfixed by her beauty. As he drew closer, his heart beat louder and louder. He could hardly contain his excitement!….And then..


PRINCE: Princess Rosa? (She is standing with her back to him.)


ROSA:                 Yes, ‘tis I. (She turns to face him.)


PRINCE:              But you are….


ROSA:                 Beautiful?


PRINCE:              You’re…


ROSA:                 Kind?…


PRINCE:              You are…


ROSA:                 Clever!

PRINCE:            Black!


ROSA:                 (laughing) But of course!


PRINCE:              I’m, I do apologise Miss, Princess Rosa. I have been mistaken!


ROSA:                 As have I. For a minute, I thought you might be Prince Right. But now I see…you’re so wrong!


NARRATOR:      And with that, Princess Rosa walked away, smiling, her head held high.


MAMA:                (Waking ROSA from her fairy tale dream) Rosa! Rosa! Come on now, it’s time for school!



ROSA:               When I was a young child I couldn’t understand why black people weren’t treated fairly. But when I did learn about it, I was not happy.


(Scene showing children at play. Skipping etc / Hand-clapping games. Children try to join in, include a young Rosa who can’t understand why she is not allowed to join the group.)


ROSA:               I couldn’t understand why our people were not treated fairly. We just wanted the same opportunities as everyone else.


NARRATOR:      In the 1950’s, Black and White people were treated very differently in America. They were separated in daily life. They could not mix and were not treated equally. This was called segregation.


ROSA:             We should have been treated equally. But this was not the case. There were places black people couldn’t go, and rights we did not have. This was not acceptable to me.

© Melanie Clarke 2009




PASTOR:                   Welcome, people of Montgomery. I can’t tell y’all how pleased I am to see such a good turnout.


EMMA-MAE:                Well it’s a good cause, we had to be here.


ALL:                                 (Um, hum! That’s right!)


PASTOR:                   Well then it seems we all know why we’re here. Sister Parks was arrested after refusin’ to give up her seat on the bus. Now we all have lived with these rules and regulations for a long time, but it seems to me it’s about time that changed….and we got Rosa to thank for it.


SISTER BAILEY:       I ain’t got a problem with thanking her Pastor. It was a brave thing she did….




EMMA-MAE:                Brother Thomas!


SISTER BAILEY:  Now I’m not sayin’ it was stupid. I ain’t sayin’ that at all. But what I am sayin’ is that Rosa may well be willin’ to spend the night in jail…..but I am NOT that way inclined.


(Some seem to agree, others shake their heads and mutter)


PASTOR:                   Alright now. No-one is expectin’ y’all to be happy about the prospect of jail. It certainly ain’t my idea of paradise. But what we need to do now is work towards securin’ our own little piece of paradise…..and riding on the back of the bus is not it!


BROTHER THOMAS:      Your words are pretty Pastor…as always, but words alone ain’t gonna bring us freedom, so what are you proposin’ we do?


PASTOR:                   What is being proposed  - and supported by many, including Doctor King – is that we boycott the buses.


BOBBY:                         Boycott? Pastor, I don’t understand.


EMMA – MAE:           What Pastor means Bobby, is that just like Sister Rosa refused to give up her seat on the bus, we gonna refuse to even ride the bus…any bus.


SISTER BAILEY:       So how we gonna go about our business? I got kids to feed, work to do…a husband that takes more work than is usual…


ROSA:                       Now Sister Bailey, no-one is askin’ for you to neglect your responsibilities. This is gonna be hard….for everyone. But we have to do somethin’ and it means we have to work together.


BOBBY:                         You right Rosa.


EMMA – MAE:           Um, hum!


ROSA:                       We can walk, together. We organise a car-pool. We stick together, support one another…


BROTHER JACKSON: It just don’t make no sense. We don’t ride the bus because we want to, we ride because we have to. How we gonna get from A to B?


ROSA:                       Now listen. We have to understand, and they gonna have to learn, that they need us a lot more than we need them.


SISTER BAILEY:       Come on now!….


ROSA:                       I mean it. You haven’t noticed there’s three times as many black faces as white on Montgomerys buses? Sister, we are payin’ their wages. And when you’re shoppin’ for yo’ husband, who you payin?  We don’t use the buses…we can’t get to their shops….we ain’t spendin’ money and they are losin’ out!


EMMA-MAE:              That’s right. They got the cheek to take our money and then tell us where we can and can’t sit, where we can and can’t go. Let’s see how they like it when they gotta cope without the “Negro” dollar!


BROTHER JACKSON: You make it sound like it’s easy! 


ROSA:                       No, Brother Jackson. Easy is something this certainly is not. But nothing worth fightin’ for ever is. Now we deserve freedom, we ain’t askin’ for anything extra, we ain’t being greedy, we just askin’ for the same rights as everybody else. Now I didn’t plan to do what I did. But I’m glad I did it. ‘Cause now we know we don’t have to say “Yes” all the time. We don’t have to agree to something when we know it’s wrong.


BOBBY:                     Well I’m with you Rosa. I’m sick of hearin’ those white folks callin’ me “boy” when I been a grown man for years.


EMMA-MAE:              And I have no intention of feelin’ like I’m worth nothin’ when I’m just as good, if not better, than the rest of them.


PASTOR:                   Well we got to make a decision. Do we join a boycott of the buses? Let me see a show of hands.


(They raise their hands, some determined, some more reluctantly)


PASTOR:                   Then the motion is carried. We join the boycott, for as long as it takes…….and may the Lord be with us…..



© Melanie Clarke 2009

  • 16 pages
  • Flexible casting
  • Multiple-role-play
  • Excellent as physical theatre piece
  • Suitable for young casts of all ages.






                Rosa Parks

           How Change Came


                Only £30

          One price includes

           performing rights

           Easy download