Our Auntie Rosa-how her family remembers Rosa McCauley Parks

She travelled all over the world meeting with world leaders, including the Pope. The U.S. Capitol Building’s Statuary Hall holds a statue of her. The Postal Service issued a stamp with her likeness. Grand Rapids Michigan named a park after her. But to her large, loving family, she was simply Our Auntie Rosa.

Our Auntie Rosa: The Family of Rosa Parks Remembers Her Life and Lessons

by Sheila McCauley Keys with Eddie B. Allen, Jr.

Published January 2015, Our Auntie Rosa offers a personal, intimate, revealing glimpse of a woman who made history for “standing up” for justice and equality by sitting down.

The act of declining to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, simply because she was Black, on December 1, 1955 is a snippet of her life’s work. Even prior to that day she had been quietly working in the civil rights movement, and never stopped, continuing to speak and exemplify courage, faith, and acceptance for all people until she died in 2005.

In this book, her family- neices and nephews, the children and grandchildren of her only sibling- share the moments she spent with them, as a group and individually, encounters that they remember fondly after many years. Without their willingness to be transparent, the world would not know the true depth of spirit of the woman known as “the mother of the civil rights movement.”

She attended their childhood birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, and graduations. She encouraged their education and vocational pursuits, and counselled their marriages. She was the “show and tell” for a great-nephew’s elementary class.

She travelled all over the world meeting with world leaders, including the Pope. The U.S. Capitol Building’s Statuary Hall holds a statue of her. The Postal Service issued a stamp with her likeness. Grand Rapids Michigan named a park after her, where I took this photos.

But to her large, loving family, she was simply

Our Auntie Rosa.

When the history of this country is written, when a final accounting is done, it is a small quiet woman whose name will be remembered long after the names of senators and presidents have been forgotten.

then Senator Barack Obama at the dedication of her statue in the US Capitol building. 
a bronze statue of Rosa Parks
statue of Rosa Parks at the Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids Michigan, photo by Dr. Aletha

Some excerpts from the book

Having been raised on a southern diet, one of her favorite dishes, calves brains with scrambled eggs, she became much more health-conscious late in life at an age when many of her peers were so set in their habits that not even a doctors warning might have convinced them to change. We would go to the Cass Corridor food co-op together and share ideas about nutrition.

by Asheber, nephew.

Each person must live their life as a model for others. a sculpture relief of a bus, with people standing to board.

listen to an excerpt

I would like to be known as a person who is concerned abut freedom. sculpted relief of a bus

Well into her senior years she has only recently begun practicing yoga. Splendid silver hair gives her away as the oldest student in most of the classes she occasionally attends with family but she doesn’t care. She’s reached a point when she considers herself a student of life.

Eventually, she learns the movements well enough to practice alone in her home. The exercises help clear her mind, the stretches keep her body limber. She takes sanctuary, be it at a studio under the voice of an instructor or in the sunlight of her living room. Inner peace and clarity have always been important to her.  

by Sheila, neice

statue of Rosa Parks, Grand Rapids Michigan


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exploring the HEART of families

I hope you will get and read this charming book by people who expressed their love and admiration for a woman most of us only know from history books. She may remind you of a special relative or friend you may want to call or write to tell how much they meant to you. Do it soon, they won’t be with you forever.

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

an open book with pages folded to make a heart

Dr Aletha


There’s enough strife and tension in our world today. My prayer is that I be a peacemaker. I don’t desire to be known for my political stand, but my identity as a follower of Jesus and my stand for His Kingdom! Keith Wheeler

On February 10, 2020 Keith Wheeler left Tulsa Oklahoma for Tuvalu, a nation of Pacific islands just south of the equator. Lying halfway between Hawaii and Australia it is one of the most remote and least visited places on earth. But that is exactly the kind of place Keith likes to visit.

Keith on the airport runway in Tuvalu

For 37 years he has walked more than 26,000 miles, visited every continent and over 200 countries for one reason- to love people and share God’s love, carrying a 90 pound cross over his shoulder. Keith uses the cross to get people’s attention and show how much God loves them.

But when Keith returned to the US in March 2020, the world had changed. On March 12, the director of the World Health Organization declared the new COVID-19 infection a pandemic, and President Trump declared a national emergency for theUnited States. Travel, especially international travel, was curtailed drastically.

Keith would not leave the country again for almost a year, but he did not waste the time resting. He just changed the way he reached people. He continued walking in Oklahoma and nearby states and shared videos on his social media, writing

“Maybe some of those stories and the perspective gained can be an encouragement. I love the fact that even in these times of isolation we can stay connected through all our technology.”

In three previous posts I told you about my interview with Keith December of 2021 and a sermon he preached in Tulsa in February 2022. In this post I’m drawing from Keith’s social media posts and an interview with BURN podcaster Reese Black.

(I have edited some of Keith’s statements for clarity and conciseness. I have added scripture references when he did not.)

Back home in Tulsa, on March 28, 2020 Keith wrote,

“In the midst of all the fear, disruption, uncertainty, and confusion that’s going on in our world, we can be sure that our Father goes before us and walks together with us into the unknown.

Easter Sunday, April 10, 2020 churches were closed due to COVID. Keith was on the street to carry the cross- in his own home city Tulsa Oklahoma.

Keith carries the cross on Lewis Avenue, walking by the Praying Hands statue at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa Oklahoma
On that day he wrote on Facebook,

May the God of Hope deliver the gift of hope;

May the Prince of Peace guard hearts and minds with His perfect peace that passes all understanding;

May the Spirit of Comfort comfort & encourage hearts and

May the Savior of the World rescue and redeem lost and broken lives!

May 25, 2020

And then our country erupted into chaos, confusion, and confrontation.

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