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Exhibition Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words

Leona Edwards (1887–1979) and Cousin Beatrice Brooks, 1925. Photograph. Visual Materials from the Rosa Parks Papers, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (005.00.00)

Rosa’s Mother, Leona Edwards

Leona Edwards was born in Pine Level, Alabama, the youngest of Sylvester and Rose Edwards’s three daughters. She attended Payne University in Selma but did not earn a degree. Leona became a dedicated rural school teacher, and her meager salary was the main source of the family’s income. She instilled in Rosa the importance of faith, self-respect, and education—values reinforced by her grandparents and the teachers at Miss White’s School, a school that Rosa would attend at age eleven.