Rosa Parks2

Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks

The Library of Congress will welcome hundreds of items belonging to civil rights icon Rosa Parks to its historical treasury, an official announced Sept. 9. The collection, which was purchased for $4.5 million by billionaire Warren Buffett’s son, Howard G. Buffett, will be moved away from a New York warehouse to its new home at the Library of Congress for 10 years.

Librarian of Congress James Billington said about 1,500 items belonging to Parks would join other civil rights collections, including records of the NAACP and the National Urban League, papers of Thurgood Marshall and other notable civil rights items.

Rosa Parks Collection

Parks’ collection will include her personal correspondence and photographs, clothing, furniture, her Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal, and about 200 drawings and greeting cards from schoolchildren and individuals who were inspired by the role she played in the Civil Rights Movement.

According to USA Today, by next spring, items from the collection will be incorporated into the new exhibition, “The Civil Right s Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom,” which opens Sept. 10.  The Library also plans to digitize Parks’ documents and visual materials, which would be available through the Library of Congress website.

“Rosa Parks is an iconic figure in the American civil rights movement, the very definition of the quiet power of an individual to inspire action in others,” Billington said in a statement.

Parks was immortalized when as a 42-year-old African-American seamstress, she refused to surrender her seat to a White passenger on a Montgomery City bus on the way from work to home. When the White man boarded the bus, the driver insisted that all (four) Blacks who were sitting behind the White section give up their seats. Her decision led to her arrest, and she was convicted for violating the “Jim Crow Laws.” This event later spurred the Montgomery Bus Boycott and other civil rights efforts to end racial segregation.

In a statement, Buffet said his aim was to ensure that the historic collection would be made available to the public so “that as many people as possible can learn about Rosa Parks and the sacrifices she made to support the civil rights movement.”

The exhibit is set to end on Sept. 12, 2015.