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. Freerk says:

    She’s a legend.

    And there’s another legend in the background. Nice picture.

  2. Multiethnicchick says:

    This is a mixed race woman. I remember when I saw her for the first time. I was so surprised that Americans were calling her black. Stupid racist idiots have no idea what a black person looks like. That’s why a white woman can claim black if she gets a curly wig and tan in this stupid country

  3. andrew says:

    it appears that Anderson McCauley was the son of Capt. Charles Maurice Tallyrand McCauley, of Cherokee and Irish background, and of Ghiogee, a full-blooded Poarch Creek Indian.

    Louisa Collins’s mother was a mixed-race slave too

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