West Asheville. Hank Williams, Jr., David Allen Coe and Waylon Jennings.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dad, on Rosa Parks

Here's an e-mail exchange Dad and I had about Rosa Parks, whose father was from Henry County.  What prompted this e-mail was a conversation we had had a year or so earlier about former Alabama governor George Wallace.  I was glad I could talk with Dad about these things, and I was very encouraged and even surprised by the response.

November 1, 2005


I remember a year so ago when we riding back from the farm and you brought up George Wallace and how he admitted he was wrong and that it was a good thing.  I agree.  Anytime we mess up and can sincerely acknowledge what we have done, it's a positive.  However, this week, I have been thinking about the life Rosa Parks led compared to Wallace.  What she did, by sitting where she wasn't legally supposed to, shows just how brave and morally superior she was to George Wallace and the countless others who wrote and defended those laws.  I just think it's more important to do the right thing when we recognize it's right.  If everyone waited till they were on the verge of death to "come clean" it would be more tragic.

One of the questions I get whenever I travel and people find out I am from Alabama is "How come, if the vast majority of whites in Alabama attend church and profess to be Christians, did they let all that go on?"  Of course, in those days, churches were also at the forefront of keeping blacks in "their right place."  Not only could Rosa Parks not have legally sat down anywhere on the bus, she would have been barred from entering white churches.

I just think the US is better for having a Rosa Parks.  And, I just wonder how many pastors mentioned her name in their sermon this past Sunday?


Rosa was mentioned in our church and we had a moment of silence at AU's game for her as well.  By the way, Larry Smith spoke to Kiwanis this morning and Rosa's daddy was from Henry County and she lived on a farm in Abbeville until she was 5 yrs. old.  Her Daddy was an excellent carpenter and builder and her granddaddy, Anderson McCauley, owned around 600 acres of farm land near Graball, west of Abbeville. I will try to get Annette to e-mail you my Kiwanis bulletin this week telling more about it. Larry knows so much about this and you might want to get the inside info from him. She was a great lady and most think God put her where she was on that bus to help right the wrongs of those days.



The Kiwanis Bulletin info that Dad later e-mailed me.

NOVEMBER 8, 2005


            T. Larry Smith, Henry County's Historian, talked to us on Rosa Parks, whose recent death sparked interests throughout the country.  Rosa, the mother of Civil Rights, will be buried on November 2nd in Detroit, Michigan where she lived her last years.  What many people didn't know is Rosa Park's connection to Henry County.  Rosa's daddy, Jim McCauley, and his daddy, Anderson McCauley were from Henry County near Abbeville.  Anderson McCauley's father was a white man and his mother a black slave girl who was part Indian.  Anderson was a farmer and in fact owned around 600 acres of land just west of Graball.  The Henry County Historical Society will erect a historical plaque on the old home near Highway 10 where the McCauleys lived.  Rosa Parks lived there until she was around 5 years old.

            Rosa's father was an excellent builder and actually designed and built the old Henry County Training School in 1914.  This school closed in 1970 and over 1300 black students graduated from there.  Jim moved with his wife to Tuskegee in 1912 and Rosa was born there in 1913 before they moved back to Henry County on the farm.  Jim later went north to build and Rosa's mother carried her back to Pine Level near Montgomery where her grandparents lived.  Anderson McCauley died in 1922 and his wife sold the land to payoff a loan in 1928.

            Rosa Parks' mother was a teacher and Rosa went to college and taught in Montgomery.  Rosa married Raymond Parks of Pine Level.  Her last trip to Henry County was in 1944 and she later moved to Detroit, Michigan. This was a good story and it ties Henry County to a lady who'll be remembered as one of the great ladies in our country's history.


Dedication of Rosa Parks Historic Marker in Henry County, Alabama
Henry County Historian T. Larry Smith, second from left

Photo of Historic Marker and Parks Home in Henry County
Photo of Rosa Parks Library and Museum - Downtown Montgomery, AL
Rosa Parks Museum video
Rosa Parks Statue Unveiling - US Capitol Building

Update February 28, 2014

article by Larry Smith

Rosa Parks' childhood home just west of Abbeville.  From Forgotten Alabama
Sad that the home can't be preserved. Sad for the county and State of Alabama.

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