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Rosa Parks Memorabilia Finds a Home at Funderburg Library

hree awards presented to Rosa Parks, a folk art sculpture, and ten books owned by the civil rights icon have been added to Funderburg Library’s special collections. The items were originally part of a donation made to the Library of Congress by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. That collection, consisting of approximately 7,500 documents and 2,500 photographs, has been digitized and made available on the Library of Congress website.

According to a letter to President McFadden from the Principal Deputy Librarian of Congress, the memorabilia was offered at the request of the Buffett Foundation, which had “identified Manchester University as a valued home” for the items. Two of the awards, engraved to Rosa Parks, “The Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement,” are from the citizens of Gary, Indiana and the City of Gary, Indiana. The third is from the Urban League of Northwest Indiana.

The Storyteller, a folk art sculpture presented to Parks in 1992 by the Arizona Cactus Pine Girl Scouts Council, suffered some damage in transit, losing a few of her tiny listeners. Fine art conservator Elizabeth Allaire restored these little ones to their places, where they will be able to hear the wisdom of her stories for years to come.

The books from Parks’ personal collection are evidence of her varied interests in young people (L.P. Leavell’s Training in Christian Service), world religions (The Kitáb-i-Íqán: The Book of Certitude), the environment (Sylvia Earle’s Sea Change), and African American history (Autobiography of W.E.B. Du Bois, Fred Gray’s Bus Ride to Justice, and Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom). In addition, the library received a copy of Quiet Strength by Rosa Parks and Gregory Reed, autographed by Mrs. Parks.

The Manchester collection is not yet on display. Learn more about the Library of Congress exhibit.

"The Storyteller" folk art sculpture
Sculpture: “The Storyteller” is now part of Funderburg Library’s special collections.