Rosa (McCauley) Parks

Rosa Louise (McCauley) Parks (1913 - 2005)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Rosa Louise Parks formerly McCauley
Born in Tuskegee, Macon, Alabama, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 18 Dec 1932 in Montgomery, Macon, Alabama, United Statesmap
Died in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, United Statesmap
Profile last modified 16 Aug 2019 | Created 4 Jul 2014
This page has been accessed 11,681 times.
Rosa (McCauley) Parks is notable.
Join: Notables Project
Discuss: notables
Activists and Reformers poster
Rosa (McCauley) Parks was a part of the Civil Rights Movement.



Rosa Parks is remembered as the "first lady of the civil rights movement" in the United States.[1][2][3][4]


Rosa Louise McCauley was born February 4th, 1913 to James McCauley and Leona Edwards in Tuskegee, Alabama.[2][4][5][6] She was frail and experienced poor health as a child.[citation needed] She came from mixed racial ancestry, with one of her great grandparents being of Scottish/Irish descent. In the Deep South at the time she was considered non-white, making her subject to Jim Crow laws.[7] Her parents divorced when she was young and Rosa grew up with her mother and grandparents.[3][7] The family moved to Pine Level, Alabama when Rosa was young and she attended elementary school there.[7][2] After finishing at Pine Level, Rosa attended Montgomery Industrial School for Girls, and later attended Alabama State Teacher's College High School.[2] Her grandmother's death prevented her from graduating with her class.[2]

December 18, 1932, Rosa married Raymond Parks in Montgomery, Alabama.[2][3][4][8][9] The couple never had children. Two years after their marriage, Rosa finally got her diploma, which had been further delayed by her mother's illness.[2] Rosa worked as a seamstress and Raymond was a barber.[3]


Influenced by the KKK riding past her home and her school having been burned down twice when she was a child, Rosa grew up with her grandfather regularly standing guard in front of their house with a shotgun and her often joining him.[3][4] There was much injustice in her life. She became very tired of having to give in and let others take her liberty away.[4] About her famous stand on the bus, she is quoted as saying "All I was doing was trying to get home from work."[10]

Her husband, Raymond, was an active member in the NAACP.[2][3][4] This led to Rosa's participation in the organization.[2] In 1943, she became the secretary of the Montgomery chapter, and later a youth leader.[2][3] December 1, 1955, Rosa's famous incident on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama occurred.[3] She refused to sit at the back of the bus and give up her seat to a Caucasian man.[2] The event inspired protest events around the country.[2] In Montgomery, there was a bus boycott that lasted 381 days.[2][3] Dr. Martin Luther King was spokesperson for the boycott.[2]

Rose Parks Arrest Booking Photo

Rosa lost her job amid the boycott in Montgomery and received death threats.[4] She and Raymond moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1957, after a brief tour of the country, and was active in the local African Methodist Episcopal church.[2][3] She worked for Congressman John Conyers from 1965 to 1988 helping homeless find housing.[2][3][4] In 1987, she founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development.[2][3] The organization was founded in honor of her husband, Raymond, and works to help youth achieve their fullest potential.[2] She also wrote four books, all autobiographical.[2]

Rosa received at least 43 honorary doctorate degrees, as well as many awards, certificates, plaques, and honors.[2] In 1996, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.[2] She received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1999.


Rosa Parks died October 24th, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan.[2][5] She had been battling dementia and poor health, and had suffered financial difficulty. Rosa is buried in the Rosa Parks Memorial Mausoleum, Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan.[6]

Both Rosa's birthday, February 4, and the day she was arrested, December 1, are commemorated as Rosa Parks Day in California and Ohio.[1] The first Monday after February 4th is Rosa Parks Day in Michigan.[2] A museum and library was opened in her honor in Montgomery, Alabama.[2][11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Wikipedia contributors, "Rosa Parks," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Wikipedia:Rosa Parks (accessed December 22, 2016).
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 "Rosa Louise Parks Biography", Rosa and Raymond Parks,, accessed 7 Dec 2018
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 "Rosa Parks",,, accessed 7 Dec 2018
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Theoharis, Jeanne, "Get Reintroduced to Rosa Parks as a New Archive Reveals the Woman Behind the Boycott", Smithsonian Magazine,, December 2015. Accessed 7 Dec 2018
  5. 5.0 5.1 "United States Social Security Death Index," database, FamilySearch ( : 20 May 2014), Rosa Louise Parks, 24 Oct 2005; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 07 December 2018), memorial page for Rosa Parks (4 Feb 1913–24 Oct 2005), Find A Grave: Memorial #12149998, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 December 2016), Rosa Mccauley in household of Sylvester Edwards, Pine Level, Montgomery, Alabama, United States; citing ED 120, sheet 4A, line 2, family 60, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 36; FHL microfilm 1,820,036.
  8. "Alabama County Marriages, 1809-1950", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 16 July 2015), Raymond Ahshield Parks and Rosa Louise McCauley, 1932.
  9. "Alabama County Marriages, 1809-1950", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 16 July 2015), Raymond Ahshield Parks and Rosa Louise McCauley, 1932.
  10. Meltzer, Brad, Heroes for my son, pgs 98-99, Harper Collins Publishing
  11. Rosa Parks Museum, Troy University, Montgomery, Alabama
  • "United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 22 July 2016), Rosa Louise Parks Mccauley, Bellevue, Washington, United States, 25 Oct 2005; from "Recent Newspaper Obituaries (1977 - Today)," database, ( : 2014); citing King County Journal, born-digital text.
  • "United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 10 September 2016), Rosa Louise Mccauley in entry for Raymond Parks, Long Island, New York, United States, 25 Oct 2005; from "Recent Newspaper Obituaries (1977 - Today)," database, ( : 2014); citing Newsday, born-digital text.
  • National Archives Catalog, National Archives Identifier 279205, at: (Images of the 1955 Police Report and Fingerprinting relating to arrest of Rosa L Parks are attached as exhibits to case file for Aurelia S. Browder et al. v. W. A. Gayle et al., No. 1147, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division, filed Feb 1, 1956. See file image nos. 344-346.)

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Sponsored Search by

No known carriers of Rosa's ancestors' DNA have taken a DNA test.

Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Comments: 11

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.
Manuscript/Mixed Material

Image 27 of Rosa Parks Papers: Writings, Notes, and Statements, 1956-1998; Drafts of early writings; Autobiographical, circa 1956, undated - Library of Congress, includes her papers, and also has video collections

posted by Arora (G) Anonymous
I just found out that I am 32 degrees from Rosa McCauley Parks. That is amazing!!
posted by Kenneth Moore
The strange thing about being related to Rosa Parks is that she is related to me on my father's side of the family. My father's family is from Maine and Massachusetts.
posted by Anonymous Rankin
I am 22 degrees from Rosa Parks, imagine that.
posted by Anonymous Rankin
My great grandfather, Alfred S Rankin is 24 degrees away from Rosa Paris. Where does that leave me in relation to Rosa Parks?
posted by Anonymous Rankin
I am surprised but very proud if I am 31 degrees from this brave woman. I have to my amazement recently become an activist in my 60s and wondered where this came from. Stand up or sit down for what is right.
posted by Barbara (Jackson) Wren
I discovered that I am 27 degrees away from Rosa Parks. I am white. Before knowing about my connection to Mrs. Parks, I knew that I had a cousin that is African American. I also have discovered that my Leverett ancestors in Wilkes County Ga. owned slaves.

Mrs. Parks is of Irish descent and so am I. I think this amazing.

posted by Kenneth Leverett
Wow, I just discovered I'm 28 degrees from Rosa Parks! Amazing not only because I'm white, but because my father's family from which the connection arises, were racists living on post Civil War Alabama. It's even been reported that my grandfather was in the KKK. It also may explain a black DNA match on Ancestry. How awesome is that?
Thank you for this. Did you know that a new tramway line in Paris, France has named a stop after Rosa Parks?
posted by C Ryder
I just discovered that I am also a distant relative of Rosa Parks! I am 35 degrees from her which is amazingly beautiful in my eyes as I am white! To me what counts is what is on the inside as we are all the same without our skin or skin color. God bless her for standing up for what she believed!
Rosa McCauley Parks climbed out of the box of prejudice that kept everyone who was not white restricted in their daily lives. She was very brave and her action helped Civil Rights become law. I am glad to know I have her as a distant relative.
posted by Rosa (Todd) Morales

Rosa is 25 degrees from Donald Howard, 22 degrees from Julia Howe and 23 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.