It was an electric day in Detroit for those passing through Cobo Hall at a NAACPcelebration dinner in April of 1995. Rosa Parks and her niece, Urana McCauley, had come for the event following the death of McCauley’s grandmother. At just 19 years old, McCauley was in awe. The black political elite of the decade filled the room. John Conyers walked the hall. Kweisi Mfume, the organization’s sitting president, gave a fiery speech, inspiring the crowd. It was a happy reprieve from the darkness surrounding death—a spectacle of black joy.
But McCauley hadn’t come to an important realization yet. Her aunt was as important as any black leader present. McCauley would soon uncover the real story of Rosa Parks: a more complicated journey than is usually told. In doing so, McCauley was forced to confront the lingering prevalence of the issues Parks fought more than six decades ago—injustices that remain to this day.