Family Papers

Rosa Parks’s family letters open a window into some of her most important relationships. They include her correspondence with her husband Raymond A. Parks, her mother Leona McCauley, and her brother Sylvester McCauley. The sections of correspondence with her husband and mother contain the largest number of letters written by Rosa. Her letters to Raymond Parks date between 1957 and 1958 when she was living and working at the Hampton Institute in Virginia and he was living in Detroit. Written in the aftermath of the bus boycott, the letters reveal the personal toll of those events and the emotional hardship of their separation. Rosa Parks's back-and-forth correspondence with her ‎mother Leona McCauley spans several decades, largely from the late 1940s to McCauley's death in 1979. The letters were written during periods when they were apart from one another, most significantly between 1956 and 1958 during Rosa Parks’s speaking tours and employment at the Hampton Institute. James McCauley, Rosa’s father, was not a consistent part of her life, a circumstance he reflects on in a letter to her in 1950. Letters by Sylvester McCauley largely concern his ‎efforts to convince his sister to move to Detroit. Also included are pages from a family Bible owned by Rosa Parks’s maternal family. Among the pages digitized are registers of births and deaths and pieces of ephemera inserted into the well-used volume.