Parks also wrote about defining moments in her life and in the civil rights movement as they happened rather than reflecting on them as an older person.
"You really have to get goosebumps when you read her writings because they are so revealing, so extraordinary," Ettinger said.
Parks' writings, on the backs of NAACP pamphlets and stationery, reveal a woman firmly implanted in the civil rights efforts. She also had the ear of prominent leaders such as the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. He sent her a postcard while on vacation in Rome, saying she was in his thoughts. Parks was also with King the day his home was bombed, something she wrote about the day after it happened.
Parks wrote, "We are really in the thick of it now. Rev. King's home was bombed last night while we were at the First Baptist Church mass meeting. His wife and baby were in the house, but not hurt."
The impressive collection also shows a lighter side to Parks too: recipes for peanut butter pancakes, letters to her husband whom she called "Parks" and letters and art sent to her from kids as part of their school projects.
"She had many facets, many sides to her life," Ettinger said. "If you grow up as I did and thought of Rosa Parks as a woman who did an enormously important and wonderful and noble deed, but that's all she did, I think you would be surprised is an understatement."