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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A relative of Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus endures as a key moment in the civil rights era, is sharing details about her later life in Detroit.
Two years after her action led black people to boycott Montgomery buses, Parks and her husband, Raymond, moved to Detroit. They brought along Rosa Parks’ mother, to be close to the family of Parks’ only sibling, Sylvester McCauley.
Parks’ seventh niece, Sheila McCauley Keys, chronicles that period of the family’s life in a new book written by her and Eddie B. Allen Jr., The Montgomery Advertiser reported (http://on.mgmadv.com/1Kiwt9a ).
Keys plans to read from her book at the Rosa Parks Library and Museum in downtown Montgomery on Wednesday, in celebration of Parks’ birthday.
It will be Keys’ first visit to Montgomery, the city in which her aunt made history. Keys’ remembers her aunt as a warm, nurturing woman who became like a second mother.
“She was a mother figure. Just a warm, thoughtful, easygoing, generous, even-tempered, quick-witted and wise woman,” Keys told the Montgomery paper in a telephone interview from Detroit.
“She taught us to give, but also to stand up and fight for what we thought was right,” Keys added.
“When my mother died in 1981, she stepped in and became a mother to all of us,” she said. “My father had died in 1979. She became the matriarch of our family. She came and stayed with me in New Jersey for a week when my son was born. She knew to come there; I thought that was the most loving thing.”
Keys plans to read from her book, “Our Auntie Rosa,” at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the museum, at 252 Montgomery St. in Montgomery.
“‘Our Auntie Rosa’ is a collaboration of all the family members’ experiences with our aunt,” Keys said. “Several family members wrote their remembrances just to let people know what a wonderful, wonderful person she really was.”