Rosa Parks is internationally famous for her role in the American civil rights movement of the 1960s. Yet few know the other side of Parks’ life.
A new memoir, “Our Auntie Rosa: The Family of Rosa Parks Remembers Her Life and Lessons” (Tarcher/Penguin, 2015), provides a look at Parks as a model of excellence in daily life, as well as a devoted mother figure to her niece, Sheila McCauley Keys, and Keys’ 12 siblings.
Keys and Eddie B. Allen Jr., the memoir’s co-author, will discuss and sign their book on Wednesday, May 20, at noon in Room LJ 119, located on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. This Books & Beyond program is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the Library’s Prints and Photographs and Manuscript divisions, and the Daniel A.P. Murray Association of the Library of Congress. The Rosa Parks Collection is housed in the Manuscript Division, on loan to the Library for 10 years from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
Following her act of bravery on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, Rosa Parks and her husband moved to Detroit in 1957, where Parks largely disappeared from public view. There, Parks reconnected with her only sibling, Sylvester McCauley, and her nieces and nephews. They were her only family. The woman whose family called her “Auntie Rosa” was a soft-spoken person whom very few people actually knew.
Sheila McCauley Keys is the seventh niece of Rosa Parks. She was featured in PBS’s live broadcast of the National Day of Courage, celebrating what would have been Parks’ 100th birthday, in 2013. Journalist Eddie B. Allen Jr. is the author of “Low Road: The Life and Legacy of Donald Gaines.” His work has appeared in The New York Times and the Detroit Free Press, among other publications.
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