Saturday, February 7, 2015

Library of Congress Opens Rosa Parks Archive

In a 2011 post, "Civil Rights Matters," the blog noted that, because of a legal dispute, the papers of Rosa Parks--the "mother of the civil rights movement"--sat in warehouses in Detroit, unavailable to scholars or the public. That situation has changed dramatically, thanks to the philanthropist Howard Buffet. Buffet, who says the papers "belong to all Americans," purchased the documents and loaned them to the Library of Congress.

This past week the Library of Congress opened the Rosa Parks archives to scholars and the public. The array of archival documents reportedly reveal Parks's "fury" about segregation and an "aggressive" edge. Much more than the stoic protester captured in photos of her famous 1955 protest against bus segregation, Parks was a complicated icon.

You can read more about the opening of the Parks' papers here and hear NPR's take on it here. The Library of Congress guide to the Parks' archives is available here.

1 comment:

Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

The term "fury" (as used in the LA Times article) is inappropriate because inaccurate here, at least in its conventional lexical meaning and associated connotations and consequences (e.g., destructive rage or frenzied violence). The understandable desire to provide a more complete or complex (if only because more 'human') characterization of Parks' life and activism is not helped by invoking an equally erroneous descriptive label. Replace "fury" with, say, (righteous) anger, and we're closer to the mark.