Rosa Parks’ Archive Opening to Public at Library of Congress

Brett Zongker, ABC News, February 3, 2015

Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, reflected later on how it felt to be treated less than equal and once feistily wrote of how tired she was of being “pushed around”–parts of her history long hidden away.

Beginning Wednesday at the Library of Congress, researchers and the public will have full access to Parks’ archive of letters, writings, personal notes and photographs for the first time. The collection will provide what experts call a more complex view of a woman long recalled in history for one iconic image–that of a nonviolent seamstress who inspired others to act at the dawning of the civil rights era.

A protracted legal battle between her heirs and friends had kept the collection from public view for years. But in 2014, philanthropist Howard Buffett bought the collection and placed it on long-term loan at the national library. The Associated Press has previously reported on the legal wrangling that kept Parks’ archive warehoused for years. Until now, scholars have had very limited, if any, access to the materials.

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Parks, who died in 2005 at 92, is beloved in American history for her civil disobedience on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. That defining moment in 1955 triggered a yearlong bus boycott that helped dismantle a system of segregation.

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After her arrest, Parks lost her job as a tailor at Montgomery’s largest department store because of her activism. Her husband, Raymond, lost his job, too, and the couple sank into deep poverty. They moved to Detroit but continued to struggle.

She traveled with the NAACP, pressing for civil rights, and eventually landed a job at the Hampton Institute in Virginia earning $3,700 a year–enough to send some money home to her husband and mother. It wasn’t until 1965 when Parks was hired for the district office of Michigan Rep. John Conyers that she finally earned a steady, living wage, archivists said.

Parks’ archive provides scholars and the public with a fuller sense of her life and faith, her personality and her pain, said library historian Adrienne Cannon.

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The collection may surprise people by revealing Parks had an aggressive edge and supported more radical actions seeking equality over the years, archivists said. She used her symbolic status to support Malcolm X, Black Panther gatherings and the Wilmington 10 in North Carolina.

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The library now holds about 7,500 manuscript items and 2,500 photographs from Parks, including the Bible she kept in her pocket, letters from admirers and her Presidential Medal of Freedom. A small exhibit is planned for March. All the items will be digitized and posted online.

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  • MekongDelta69

    She was a plant from the NAACP from the jump.

    • phorning

      I think the person they picked first had a criminal record, they thought Parks would be more sympathetic in the public eye.

      • MekongDelta69

        Actually, there were three girls – Claudette Colvin, Mary Louise Smith, and Irene Morgan.

        Colvin was 15 and had a kid from a married man.
        Smith was a dropout and her old man was a drunk.
        Morgan tore up an arrest warrant and fought the Sheriff.

        Parks was considered ‘middle class and well-respected,’ was 42 years old in 1955, went to Church regularly, was married (that would be a ‘no-go’ with today’s blacks), and… most importantly… was the secretary for the NAACP at the time. (How ‘convenient.’)

        • AndrewInterrupted

          Purely coincidental, I’m sure. <;-D

        • bilderbuster

          She was also picked for her lighter complexion AND she didn’t just sit down because she was tired and then refused to move.
          She insisted that she be arrested even when the bus driver didn’t want to have her arrested.

      • Laura Dilworth

        Unwed mother. Maybe a teenager

      • There’s negros without criminal records? Who knew?

        • Oil Can Harry

          Yes, and both of them are very nice.

          • bilderbuster

            Barrack Obama and Bill Cosby?

        • AndrewInterrupted

          She could have been an attraction at the circus.

        • Jesse_from_Sweden

          There are lots of negros without criminal records.
          The police have limited resources to investigate crime, so a lot of crimes go unsolved.

    • AndrewInterrupted

      And the NAACP was run by a particular–tribe shall we say–during those times, if not always.

      • Speedy Steve

        Eskimos?

      • Jacobite2

        In fact, it was created by them. Hey, it was one more anti-Euro-American front. Like fellow creations, the CPUSA and the ACLU.

        • AndrewInterrupted

          Nice to see you again, Jacobite.

          They also dominate many government agencies. The EEOC & DOL, for example, are loaded with tribe. Probably 10X the national census average.

          • Jacobite2

            I submit Comments and Replies every day, and, once in a while, they show up on the site. As far as censorship criteria, please see Kevin Macdonald’s : “Culture of Critique — Preface to the First Paperback Edition: Jewish Organizations and Censorship of the Internet”.

    • Speedy Steve

      Not to mention she had her consciousness raised at the left-wing agitator Highlander Camp.
      en wikipedia org/wiki/Highlander_Research_and_Education_Center

  • I had read somewhere that the entire bus scenario was both planned an rehearsed. It was not a spontaneous ‘racist’ event.

    • Charles Martel

      True. I read it in a book about the SCLC called Carrying the Cross. The Rosa Parks story taught in schools today is the modern equivalent of George Washington chopping down the cherry tree!

  • The collection may surprise people by revealing Parks had an aggressive
    edge and supported more radical actions seeking equality over the years,
    archivists said.

    It’s not a surprise to any one of us, because we pay attention.

  • David Ashton

    “Radical actions” now publicly documented. Tell us more.

  • Luca

    She should have at least won an Oscar for her performance on the bus.

    • Georgia Boy

      Might as well, they’ve made every other kind of worship of her. If only Americans who gave up their very lives to defeat Hitler got one percent of the recognition Rosa Didntgiveupherseat got for not … well, no need to say it again for the hundred millionth time.

      • bilderbuster

        Rosa Parks,Josef Stalin, Charlie Hebdo, Londonistan, MLK, Al Sharpton, Open Borders, The Knockout Game, 37,000 White women raped by Black men annually and Barrack Obama are exactly what the Americans who defeated Hitler fought for and to this day they remain clueless.

  • dd121

    Blacks don’t read so just do they think they’ll do with this archive?

    • AFlaVet

      It’ll play on YouTube inside.

    • Charles Martel

      It’s for white liberals to fawn over.

      Actually, it will probably be the basis for hundreds of doctoral dissertations in Black Studies programs.

      • dd121

        I’m sure the world can’t wait for this scholarship.

  • George Costanza

    I was watching this History channel program about the all black tank companies of WW2, their only gripe was when they came back home and they were told to sit in the back of the bus to make room for the white servicemen.

    And I’m thinking…awww boo hoo…the blacks have a right to sit in the front you know!! cause they’re the ones that WON the war(sarcasm)

    • Dave West

      I almost watched that the other night when I came across it on OnDemad. Just as I was about to hit watch, I saw it was about the black 761st battalion, no thanks! I want to watch a war documentary, not a cry-baby victimhood freak show!

  • IstvanIN

    She could write????

    • Katherine McChesney

      Cursive?

  • ncpride

    This on top of the news a second Harper Lee book will be published, a sequel to Mockingbird. Just what we need, even more ridiculous fairytales about innocent black men being accused of rape when we all know the reality of the situation. Sickening. From the comments I’ve read about it, most White people are just over the moon about it, claiming ‘Mockingbird’ to be their all time favorite. Sad.

    • Alexandra1973

      I think the point of the book was (and I’ve read it lots of times), evidence showed the black guy was innocent and that it was likely the girl’s father gave her a major beat-down for coming onto a black guy, but he was convicted just because he was black. Now I would be the first to say that if you can’t prove them guilty, let ’em go, doesn’t matter what race.

      And that having been said..in real life, what black guy would turn down a little action from a white woman if she comes on to him? The book made it sound like blacks were persecuted and made into scapegoats just for being black. And it was implied that the girl accusing the black guy had an incestuous relationship with her father–so we see the redneck stereotype in play there.

      The book did tell a bit of truth if you look for it. Calpurnia, the children’s black nurse, was well-spoken and literate. When the kids go to her church, they ask her why she speaks like the rest of the blacks…she tells them that if she spoke “white folks’ talk” among the other blacks, they’d think she was “puttin’ on airs fit to beat Moses.”

      • ncpride

        I guess my point is that book has been so out of date and out of touch with reality for so long, a sequel will be nonsense, but they are desperate to continue with the ‘narrative’ and to continue on with the tradition of White guilt, despite the rape statistics in this country.

        From what I’ve read, Scout is all grown up and ‘reflecting’ on that trial. In reality, she should disown her father, slap him across the face, then sarcastically thank him for the thousands and thousands of White women who have been brutally assaulted and raped by black thugs.

    • Dave West

      I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again…….

      Liberals hate when people call women liars for claiming they were raped. Unless its a white woman claiming to be raped by a black man, in a fictional story, in the “evil” jim crow south.

      • ncpride

        Just look how all the mostly White women are being treated who have accused Bill Cosby. They MUST be liars!

        • Time for a return of Southern punishment for negro rapists.

          • John Smith

            IIRC, the last person hanged for rape was a white man who raped a little girl in MO.

    • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

      I bet Lee Harper was a mudshark that loved the BBC and she was a race traitor. The semites of Hollywood chose her book because they wanted it to fuel the civil rights era and give the negro race some cheap sympathy.

    • John Smith

      It was an interesting fairy tale to read as a kid, but adults outgrow such things as their eyes open to what is actual truth and what is only make-believe. I kinda feel that she was the female, lesbian equivalent of her childhood buddy Truman Capote.

    • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

      Lee Harper is a race traitor. She just was I guess a plant by the semites to push for civil rights. I bet she was just like the woman character in her book that accused the black of raping her, when in fact she was in love with the black. Shame on Lee.

  • mikes2653

    Will they give details of her attendance at the Communist-front Highlander Folk School before her supposedly ‘spontaneous’ bus performance?

    • John Smith

      Or that she was a long-time agitator, not just a disgruntled seamstress trying to get to work.

  • RacialRay

    Remember the mayhem, the riots, when the new Air Jordans went on sale and blacks queued up around the block to buy them?

    The lines for this academic exhibit will be just like that. Only not.

  • Dave West

    Rosa Parks……….. another propped up black saint of white libtard America.

    Your typical white lib and sadly, even conservative, cares more about this lady than the average black person; many black people aren’t even sure who she is. I remember back in high school, before I was able to escape into the mostly white AP class circuit, I was in a history class that was 2/3 black. The teacher asked the class if they knew who she was; two white students raised their hands and no black student did. The white student answered correctly, then a confused sounding black kid shouted from the back of the room; “wait, I thought she invented the underground railroad?”

    • AndrewInterrupted

      A la Maya Angelou. Another cardboard cut-out created by the left.

  • Dr.Bazzi

    Thanks to her we have the American we see today. Thank you!!

  • AFlaVet

    Next year they’ll add the Saint Trayvon wing and the Michael Brown skid marks left on the street in Ferguson. It will be labeled a holy site for pilgrimages every year and the recreation of the “peaceful” riots. All local stores will be looted and burned down by the owners to satisfy the demand for equality.

  • Samuel Hathaway

    Surely the archives will be “scrubbed” in order to conceal how deep Parks’ radicalism really was. Can’t have the story told any other way than she was as saintly as the Virgin Mary herself.
    Personally, I couldn’t give a flip about Rosa Parks, we already know she attended the Highlander Folk School, in Tennessee, which was a breeding ground for communist political tactics.

    As it is now White History Month, let’s dwell more on our own heritage and accomplishments rather than spending day in and day out griping an belly-aching about the worthlessness of black “icons.” Bashing and hatchet job on Rosa Parks and all other things radically black to continue in March.

  • No doubt her papers are written in ebonics with a Crayon.

  • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

    The NAACP was started and run by semites and I have heard that a semite wrote MLK’s speeches and was instigating and helping them all the time. Rather funny considering that they brought these negroes to America on semite owned slave ships.

    • Speedy Steve

      The local chapter featured a bloke called James Farmer (he died a few years back) who told the Free-Lance Star that at the first meeting he was the only colored person in the room. The rest were either Eskimos or stingy Scotsmen.

    • Charles Martel

      King had a Ph.D from Boston College in the pre-affirmative action days. He was capable of writing his own sermons and speeches.

      • saxonsun

        He plagiarized much of “his” dissertation–the school has a warning attached to it for that reason. He’s not a true Ph.D.

      • Ludwig

        Stanley Levison, a leading figure of the Communist Party U.S.A. helped King write his speeches.

      • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

        I guess you need to be educated and see that he plagiarized his dissertation.

  • LHathaway

    Meanwhile, it’s dangerous for whites riding the bus, and probably has been since 1955.

    • newscomments70

      Where I live, I don’t go on the bus to avoid the homeless. They can be as destructive, violent, and hostile as anyone.

  • MasterDrKhan

    We should really create an alternative narrative on the “civil right” movement and explain why it wasn’t “great” like blacks and liberals make it out to be.

    • Ludwig

      Yes. And we could call the alternative narrative reality.

  • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

    Rosa Parks was robbed by a black thug.

  • JohnEngelman

    Can anyone explain why blacks should not be allowed to sit in front of the bus?

    • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

      We need to watch them for their antics.

      • JohnEngelman

        Wouldn’t they be easier to watch if they are sitting next to you?

        • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

          No they will knife you if next to you. If in front, you can tackle them from behind

    • Alexandra1973

      They were, but from what I heard if a White person wanted that seat, they had to give it up.

      Funny thing is they’re content to sit in the back now. Go figure. Like a toddler that doesn’t get a toy, has a tantrum, gets the toy…then doesn’t play with it.