Earlier that year, scholar, and author Deborah Willis interviewed Ella Watson’s great-granddaughter Rosslyn Samuels. Rosslyn was a girl when her great-grandmother came to live in her family’s home in Washington, D.C. Rosslyn’s mother, granddaughter to Ella Watson, and her father had asked Mrs. Watson to stay with them after Ella’s younger daughter had moved away from the family home. In an article published on May 14, 2018 in the New York Times Lens Blog, Willis described Watson's personal life through the memories of her great-granddaughter—giving an even greater significance to the photographs Parks made of her beyond American Gothic:
"Rosslyn offered another way of seeing Mrs. Watson; she explained that her great-grandmother often talked about the delight she took in caring for the children in the family. She loved cooking, and Rosslyn recounted that once, to avoid having black-eyed peas for dinner, she poked a hole in the bag. When the peas fell across the floor, Rosslyn felt certain she would not have to eat peas that night. But her great-grandmother thought otherwise: 'Oh, this is a great opportunity,' she said. 'We can pick these up, wash them, and cook them for dinner.'
I wondered about her Saturday nights and her Sunday mornings, and asked Rosslyn about her great-grandmother’s clothing—her sense of style. Rosslyn described her as neat and meticulous—a modest and humble woman who wore house dresses at home during the week and her best clothes on Sunday. She never wore pants, and she would stay in her bedclothes as she prepared for services on Sunday. She wore monochrome dresses and kitten-heeled shoes that she polished weekly, and she never allowed her great-granddaughter to style her hair for church.
Ella Watson had her style for Sunday! In my quest to confirm my perception of the personality I had imagined for this stoic Black woman from the famous photograph, I asked Rosslyn a final question: How would you describe your great-grandmother to someone today? Rosslyn responded immediately that she was a 'Proverbs 31 woman!'"
Rosslyn Samuels, Sharon Stanley, and Audrey Johnson have not only made Ella Watson's personal life real and tangible—throught storytelling and their family archive, they've enriching our understanding of Parks's photographs of Watson and the significance of their groundbreaking collaboration as an enduring symbol of labor, inequity, and patriotism. As Willis quotes in her essay, Proverbs 31 encapsulates the legacy Ella Watson's family carries on: “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. . . . Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”