The first black female Lord-Lieutenant said her civil rights activist father would be "very proud" of her.
American-born Peaches Golding OBE, 63, has been chosen to become the Queen's new representative in Bristol.
She was born in North Carolina and is the daughter of Dr Charles Brady Hauser, a teacher who in 1947 mounted a civil rights protest by refusing to sit at the back of a bus in North Carolina.
He received $2,000 compensation from the Greyhound bus company after he was wrongly arrested and jailed. He was not legally obliged to sit at the back of the bus because the "Jim Crow" segregation laws applied only to inter-state buses.
Hiis action took place eight years before Rosa Parks made her famous protest in Montgomery, Alabama.
He later became a member of the North Carolina General Assembly, and was elected twice to represent an area that was majority-white, Ms Golding said.
"I'm sure he would have been very proud of me, and I'm sure the rest of my family will be as well," she said, adding that her parents, both teachers, had had "large ambitions" for their children.
I have found that Bristol has accepted me. I have always been comfortable here
A life-long monarchist, she said it was a "deep honour" to represent the Queen.
Ms Golding moved to Bristol in 1983 after meeting and marrying a local man while working as a teacher in Nigeria.
She set up a marketing and communications business in the city and currently works as a marketing consultant.
In 2010 she became the first-ever black High Sheriff in England. The post is more than 1,000 years old. Her father died just months before she was given the role.
She has worked on several projects to benefit the city, and says she thinks she has been given the role because she is a "safe pair of hands." She is particularly focused on tackling homelessness and improving education and young people's opportunities.
She said: "I have found that Bristol has accepted me. I have always been comfortable here. There have been times when there were tensions, but these things happen everywhere.
"I've been able to have a voice and it's one that people have listened to."
The monarch has her own personal representative in each area of the UK. Historically they were responsible for organising the local militia but the role is now largely ceremonial. It includes escorting royalty on visits and advising on honours nominations.
Incumbents are normally notable retired local people. The role can be held until age 75.
Ms Golding is thought to be the first black woman to hold the role, which was created by Henry VIII in the 1540s.
She says she hopes to inspire others - but wouldn't call herself a trailblazer.
"It's up to others to call you a trailblazer - you don't call yourself that.
"If what I've done inspires others to think that ordinary people can do extraordinary things, then that's a good thing.
"I suspect that throughout my life I've been the first to do a great many things. I'm still the same ordinary girl. It's not about me, it's about the role."
Ms Golding will replace the outgoing lord lieutenant, Mary Prior, who will retire next month when she turns 75.