Rosa Parks, Savvy Civil Rights Auntie
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
Few civil rights activists have achieved the kind of name recognition of Rosa Parks. Called one of the matriarchs of the civil rights movement, Parks was not only an Auntie to all those who fought for racial equality - she was an Auntie to many nieces and nephews, as well.
Parks made her mark on history in the winter of 1955 when she refused to leave her seat and move to the back of a Montgomery, Ala. bus to make way for a white man. This act of civil disobedience began what became known as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was successful in ending the practice of black citizens giving way for white citizens on public buses.
Parks died in 2005 at age 92, but her legacy lives on, especially in her niece by choice, Elaine Eason Steele. Parks and Steele founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development in 1987. Steele, a family friend, became "the daughter [Parks] never had" after meeting Parks in the early 1960s.
Steele has also reportedly played "the bad cop," defending Parks' memory against attempts to exploit it for financial gain. Parks' nephew, William McCauley, and niece, Rhea McCauley, have been involved in law suits to protect their aunt's legacy in recent years.
Published: February 6, 2011