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Arts & Life

Rosa Parks archive is now online

Courtesy Photograph
Library of Congress

The Rosa Parks Collection has been digitized by the Library of Congress and is now available online. It is made up of 10,000 letters, writings, and photographs that belonged to the civil rights icon – as well as her tax returns, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and a handwritten pancake recipe. 

"The collection is truly inspirational," said Margaret McAleer, senior archive specialist at the Library of Congress. "And we wanted to make it as publicly available as possible."

McAleer said the collection reveals many details of Parks' life and personality – and her reflections on race relations and living under Jim Crow.

"It really opens this wonderful window into her relationships that were very important to her," said McAleer.

She said the archive also reveals the economic hardships Parks and her husband suffered following her arrest in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a Montgomery, Alabama bus – a pivotal moment in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

The Library of Congress is offering a Primary Source Gallery for educators with classroom ready materials drawn from Rosa Parks' papers and with teaching ideas.