*Urana McCauley, the niece of Rosa Parks, penned a piece for Shonadland.com, where she shared her excitement at hearing Oprah Winfrey tell the story of Alabama woman Recy Taylor, who was abducted and raped by six white men in 1944. Parks, a young activist at the time, was appointed by the NAACP to investigate Taylor’s case in her fight for justice.
“It was also emotional for me to hear Oprah’s words because she gave people the chance to see that Rosa Parks — my Auntie Rosa — was not just a tired old lady who sat down on a bus one day,” McCauley wrote.
“I also pay her my respects by refusing to let her legacy be turned into a caricature,” she added. “I believe her story is more relevant than ever because she and people like her laid a foundation so that women today can be more vocal, can run for office, can demand equal rights and equal pay, and say we don’t have to be harassed.”
McCauley also offered insight into who the civil rights icon really was — and, as noted by Atlanta Black Star, she didn’t realize how important her aunt was until a 1995 NAACP. After that event, she said she began questioning Rosa about what she had endured as a young activist.
She also wants folks to know that her aunt was the total opposite of the “quiet seamstress narrative” we learned growing up.
“Maybe you have seen that famous picture of my aunt getting arrested and the man fingerprinting her — well, that’s not even from December 1, 1955,” McCauley said. “It’s from the second time she was arrested.”
“By the time that photograph was taken, word had gotten out across the country that Montgomery had started a bus boycott. So that’s when the media showed up to take a picture,” she continued.
As for Rosa’s infamous bis ride, McCauley says her aunt didn’t intend to get on the bus that day because she had been avoiding a particular driver for years. But she already paid the fare by the time she realized her mistake, so she sat down, later refusing to give up her seat.
McCauley said once word spread about what her aunt had done, people had a bit more courage speak up.
“I know people might still try to belittle my Auntie Rosa by saying, ‘Oh she was just a little seamstress.” But that “little seamstress” is proof that you can be anything out here and still make changes in your community,” she wrote. “My aunt felt passionate about civil rights — it was a passion she felt in her soul, and we all have to tap into that.”
” … We can all do a little thing and the ripple effect of it can go a long way.”