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Rosa Parks’ Papers Are Now Online

Read about everything from her meditations on the Civil Rights Movement to her recipe for “featherlite” peanut butter pancakes

This 1956 poster is just one of thousands of items of Rosa Parks' personal collection now digitized by the Library of Congress. (Library of Congress)

Curious about the life and experiences of the woman whose refusal to sit at the back of a Montgomery bus sparked a historic boycott and helped advance black Americans’ struggle for civil rights? You’re in luck: Yesterday, the Library of Congress announced that its Rosa Parks collection is finally online.

As Smart News reported last year, the collection, which consists of over 10,000 documents, photos and objects, is on loan to the Library of Congress for the next decade. The loan is thanks to philanthropist Howard Buffett, who saved the collection from an auction warehouse and decided to preserve the activist’s physical legacy.

Parks, who died in 2005, did more than refuse to surrender her bus seat in 1955. She translated life as a seamstress in the segregated South into a role as a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement and worked the rest of her life to combat racism, prejudice and discrimination. Now, that legacy continues with a trove of items that paints a vividly personal picture of the civil rights icon.

Anyone can access Parks’ papers online, so have at it—here are a few highlights from the collection.

1955 Date Book

Parks used this date book from the Montgomery Fair as a notebook during 1955 and 1956 and took notes about her protest and the boycott that followed.


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