Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks, with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the background, in 1955, Ebony Magazine, USIA/National Archives and Records Administration

Birth Name: Rosa Louise McCauley

Date of Birth: February 4, 1913

Place of Birth: Tuskegee, Alabama, U.S.

Date of Death: October 24, 2005

Place of Death: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.

Ethnicity: African-American, as well as one sixteenth Irish

Rosa Parks was an American civil rights activist. The United States Congress has called her “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.” She is known for rejecting a bus driver’s request to relinquish her seat to a white passenger in 1955.

Rosa was the daughter of Leona (Edwards) and James McCauley. She was African-American. One of her maternal great-great-grandfathers was Irish. A picture of Rosa’s father can be seen here. Rosa was married to barber and NAACP staffer Raymond Parks, until his death.

All of Rosa’s grandparents were black. Rosa is sometimes described as having had some degree of Cherokee Native American, Creek Native American, and/or Scots-Irish/Northern Irish ancestry. It is not clear if any or all of these lineages have been verified/documented.

Rosa’s paternal grandfather was named Anderson McCauley. Anderson was born in Alabama or Georgia.

Rosa’s paternal grandmother was named Louisa Collins. Louisa was born in Alabama.

Rosa’s maternal grandfather was Sylvester Edwards (the son of John Earl Edwards and Rosa Jones). Sylvester was born in Alabama. John was the son of James Earl Edwards and Martha Patsy Hamilton. Rosa’s great-grandmother Rosa Jones was the daughter of Joseph Jones and Mary Potter.

Rosa’s maternal grandmother was Rose/Rosena Percival (the daughter of James Percival and Mary Janes Nobles). Rosa’s grandmother Rose was born in Alabama. James’s father was Irish.

Sources: Genealogies of Rosa Parks –

Rosa’s father on the 1910 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

44 Responses

  1. fuzzybear44 says:

    You say one drop rule but, do you think Rosa might’ve actually saw herself as a black woman. I’m thinking that she probably did

  2. fuzzybear44 says:

    you’re talking about a woman who grew up in a time , where white people were offensive to black people on a daily basis. So if she had some anger issues I think she was more than Justified. As for Outkast, she was angry at a particular group of black people, not black people in general. Just because you’re in the same ethnic background doesn’t mean you all get along. I guess that used her name without her permission and she didn’t like it

    • fuzzybear44 says:

      I wasn’t hurt by your comment, just stating a fact

      Quote:( fortunately there had been a lot of white people who did nt care about the rules and had affairs and relationships with blackā€¦)

      The rules against interracial relationships really only applied to black men and white women sexual relationships. White men actually signed petitions stating that the law of men had no right, to stop them from what they believed was their God given right to pursue or lay with whomever they wanted. It was looked down on in the public, but they didn’t what they wanted. However yes, I’m pretty sure, there were plenty of relationships that had to do with love

  3. savanna says:

    “Her father, James McCauley, was a carpenter who was part African American, Scots-Irish and Native American.”

  4. midori29 says:

    Most Africans Americans are different colors from light to dark. My grandmother looked like Rosa Parks and she was black. Even when the black slaves came to America, they were not all dark skinned. And Remrmber northern Africans can get olive skinned to white, so just because geneticists divide a line between North.and subsaharan Africa , it does not mean the populations did not cross.
    Race is a social thing not reality based. So Africans can have many many different looks.

  5. sashafierce564 says:

    She black !!! A role Model !!!

    • Multiethnicchick says:

      No she was phenotypically and genetically mixed. When I first saw her I was like wait, THATS Rosa Parks. She doesn’t look black at all. I thought she was white.

      • WTF says:

        She did look mixed, but of course back then all the mixed blacks identified as black regardless if they were genetically mixed. Which is stupid af. I don’t consider mixed people to be black. People with TWO black parents are black, forget that stupid ass ONE DROP RULE bullshit.

        • midori29 says:

          @WTF mixed people can choose to be black or white. You sound like an angry mullato. If youre mixed you are white and black. And yes you can call yourself black after the black parent.

        • arjanguelsk says:

          @WTF I agree! It’s so ridiculous, people are claiming a race becous they consider they look more like the other, if you are mixed , you are mixed.

          Simple example with colors white + black = grey… Probably its looks more black or more white but still be grey…. You can call this color black or wihite.. And still be gray….. Becouse is grey.

          2+5=7 not 2 not 5 Just 7.
          And 2 is not better than 5 or 7 there are just numbers.

          Chocolate milk= chocolate + milk + sugar.

          Black person+ white= mixed (biracial)…. If this person have more races is multiracial.

          When you mix you get another thing. It doesn’t care If it’s a human or other topic. Mixed is mixed.

          And is they decide to choose one is wrong cuz they have both, and any ways if they decides one one people is going to attack the person, a Thats so sad.

          People dosen’t accept mixed people becouse they just believe in 3 races… Black withe and yellow…. but the reality is that it dosen’t care if you are a beautiful mixed person, pure and beautiful black person or pure and beautiful white person. And race is just talk about genes and where do you came from, and history is with race too… But the race division came from humans, is how humans perceive those genes… mixed people demostrated that race is not a reason for being disrespectful or Racist, becouse in the end we all the same … Humas…. genes are important becouse they talk about you…. important >>> in the end we are all the same we just came from different places.

          • arjanguelsk says:

            Btw, like I said I respect all opinions , some of them are funny but every body have oppinios about this tipic becouse, know ITS THE TOPIC… But I really don’t like when mixed people deny one of there roots it dosen’t care if it’s black, withe, native, yellow…. For me is sad.

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