What Was Rosa Parks' Family Like?


Quick Answer

Rosa Parks was the first of two children born to James McCauley and Leona McCauley, whose maiden name was Edwards. Her younger brother was Sylvester McCauley. She adopted the last name "Parks" after marrying Raymond Parks, a barber. They had no children.

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Full Answer

Parks' parents separated when she was young, and she grew up with her maternal grandparents, mother and brother on a farm in Pine Level, Alabama. Her maternal grandparents were Rose and Sylvester Edwards, two former slaves who advocated strongly for racial equality. Her grandfather was known for once standing in front of the family's house with a shotgun while Ku Klux Klan members marched down the street.

When Rosa's brother married, Daisy McCauley became her sister-in-law. Sylvester and Daisy had 14 children: Parks' nieces and nephews. One of these children, Sheila Gaye Kaye, recalled her Aunt Rosa in an article written for The Huffington Post. She, along with her siblings, co-authored an inspirational book about their aunt.

In the 1970s, Parks' family was plagued with illness. Her brother, mother and husband were all diagnosed with cancer. She spent time going from hospital to hospital, and the medical bills caused financial problems. In 1977, her husband died, and in 1978, her brother passed away. In 1979, her mother died, and Rosa Parks herself passed away in 2005.

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