Rosa Parks Collection Now Online

The Rosa Parks Collection at the Library of Congress has been digitized and is now online.

Rosa Parks collecting NAACP membership dues of $2.00, likely during her trip to Los Angeles, California, in 1956. Photograph by  McLain's Photo Service.

Rosa Parks collecting NAACP membership dues of $2.00, likely during her trip to Los Angeles, California, in 1956. Photograph by McLain’s Photo Service. Prints and Photographs Division. 

The collection, which contains approximately 7,500 manuscripts and 2,500 photographs, is on loan to the Library for 10 years from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The Library received the materials in late 2014, formally opened them to researchers in the Library’s reading rooms in February 2015 and now has digitized them for optimal access by the public.

Parks became an iconic figure in history on Dec. 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama.  Her arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a seminal event in the Civil Rights Movement.  Parks died at age 92 in 2005.

The collection reveals many details of Parks’ life and personality, from her experiences as a young girl in the segregated South to her difficulties in finding work after the Montgomery Bus Boycott; from her love for her husband to her activism on civil rights issues.

Included in the collection are personal correspondence, family photographs, letters from presidents, fragmentary drafts of some of her writings from the time of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, her Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal, additional honors and awards, presentation albums, drawings sent to her by schoolchildren and hundreds of greeting cards from individuals thanking her for her impact on civil rights.  The vast majority of these items may be viewed online.  Other material is available to researchers through the Manuscript and Prints and Photographs reading rooms.

This video contains highlights from the collection and a look behind the scenes at how the Library’s team of experts in cataloging, preservation, digitization, exhibition and teacher training are making the legacy of Rosa Parks available to the world.

The Rosa Parks Collection joins additional important civil rights materials at the Library of Congress, including the papers of Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Roy Wilkins and the records of both the NAACP and the National Urban League.  The collection becomes part of the larger story of our nation, available alongside the presidential papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, and the papers of many others who fought for equality, including Susan B. Anthony, Patsy Mink and Frank Kameny.

To support teachers and students as they explore this one-of-a-kind collection, the Library is offering a Primary Source Gallery with classroom-ready highlights from the Rosa Parks papers and teaching ideas for educators.

One Comment

  1. kyle
    May 16, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    what inspired rosa

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