Rosa Parks

By Angela Sadler Williamson, Ph.D. on December 01, 2015

The last five years I’ve made it my personal mission to research social issues impacting older adults. This has led to many opportunities, including speaking to marketing and communications executives on how to advertise to older adults and nonprofit organizations targeting older adults through social media.


A dramatic change in my family would lead me to another unique project featuring my research population, older adults. After a two year illness, my husband would lose his father to heart failure in March 2015, a month after Howard G. Buffett would donate the Rosa Parks’ papers, letters and photos to the Library of Congress.


Although my father-in-law wouldn’t need us to be his full-time caregivers, we spent the last two years taking him to his doctor’s appointments and transporting him to and from the hospital. However, I realized that I really didn’t know my father-in-law as I began the daunting task of arranging his memorial service, which included writing his obituary and producing his memorial video. As we hosted several relatives for his memorial service, I spent extensive time talking to his sisters about him and the Williamson family, especially Aunt Carolyn Williamson Green. It would be these conversations that would lead me to formulate my new research project, preserving the public service legacy of the Williamson family and their relationship with their cousin, Rosa Parks.



As a researcher specializing in the social issues surrounding older adults, I decided to research the role of public service legacy inside the family of Rosa Parks, the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement. In reviewing past research about Rosa, I learned that most research on Rosa Parks has been about her participation in the civil rights movement; however, there is little research about how her extended family has been instrumental in continuing her public service legacy through community activism, civic service and creating grassroots community organizations.

The short documentary focuses on Rosa Parks’ former personal attendant, caregiver and cousin, my Aunt Carolyn Williamson Green. The documentary research collected data of Ms. Green’s 20 plus year involvement in the City of Detroit by video observation, conducting semi-structured video interviews, analyzing public documents, videotaping individual and group social situations, and examining possessions or ritual objects at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. On December 1, 2015, a teaser about the documentary will be released in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The documentary projected release date is February 2016. Please like my Facebook page, My Life with Rosie, for updates about the documentary.


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By Angela Sadler Williamson, Ph.D.| December 01, 2015
Categories:  Care Giving

About the Author

Angela Sadler Williamson, Ph.D.

Angela Sadler Williamson, Ph.D.

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