Police Probe Theft from Rosa Parks’ Old Apartment

MSN, August 28, 2014

Thieves have struck the apartment complex where Rosa Parks lived when she made history by refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, police said Tuesday.

Detectives are seeking suspects who ripped and stole copper wiring from Parks’ former apartment and several other now-vacant units being renovated, Montgomery police Sgt. Denise Barnes said. {snip}

“Vandals came in and pilfered it. They went in and tore out the walls and they stole the copper pipes and pretty much destroyed the apartment,” said Evette Hester, executive director of the Montgomery Housing Authority, which has been working to refurbish the complex and enhance its historic aspects.


Parks’ former apartment at 634 Cleveland Court is listed as her address in the 1955 police report following her arrest on the bus.

Her refusal to give up her seat in defiance of a Montgomery law sparked a yearlong bus boycott and became an enduring symbol of the U.S. Civil Rights movement.

Parks lived in the apartment on Cleveland Court–now known as Parks Place in her honor–from 1951 to 1957, Hester said. She later moved to Detroit, where she died in 2005.


Damaged kitchen in Rosa Parks’ apartment

Parks’ former apartment is an important aspect of her life, partly because it was a public housing project–a fact that is sometimes “airbrushed” or glossed over in accounts of her life, said Georgette Norman, director of the Rosa Parks Library and Museum in Montgomery.

Norman said it’s important for young people, in particular, to know that people of Parks’ stature lived in public housing.


The apartment where Parks lived had been furnished with period pieces to reflect what it was like during the time she was there, said Hester, who described it as a type of small museum.


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