Black Women’s Historical Wellness: History as a Tool in Culturally Competent Mental Health Services

One of the most compelling examples from this archive of historical wellness practices is Rosa Parks (1913-2005). Parks practiced yoga for three decades and shared yoga lessons in her community. According to published family narratives and papers held at the Library of Congress (LOC), as early as 1965 (at age 52), Rosa Parks learned yoga with her nieces and nephews. By 1973, she was demonstrating yoga practices at events in Detroit. While Rosa Parks is most widely known for political resistance that led to the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, she lived to be 92 years old and her “quiet strength” life-work developed to include public health advocacy.
Revealing the Rosa Parks yoga picture publicly for the first time underscores the ability of Black women’s historians to inform national effort…