Rosa Parks items to be auctioned

Lot includes hat she wore Dec. 1, 1955 on Montgomery bus.

Thousands of personal items belonging to the late Rosa Parks will be auctioned in New York City to settle a 2006 lawsuit filed by Parks’ relatives over her estate, reports the Detroit News.

Included in the collection is the hat Parks wore on Dec. 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white man and sparked the 381-day Montgomery bus boycott. Also headed for auction is the Medal of Freedom given to her by President Bill Clinton, a postcard sent to her from civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and hundreds of hand-written notes documenting her life as a young girl growing up in the racially segregated South.

“This is an important collection,” the Detroit News quotes of Arlan Ettinger, the owner of Guernsey’s Auction, which is handling the sale after being selected by Wayne County Probate Court to settle the lawsuit. “It’s inconceivable to me that we will ever do something this important again.”

Guernsey’s received 90 boxes of items, ranging from Parks’ papers to personal objects such as the pink dress she wore when Clinton presented her with the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Parks, who died in 2006 at age 92, left most of her estate to the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. She and her husband, Raymond, who died in 1977, did not have children. Proceeds from the auction, expected to reach $10 million, will go to the Detroit organization, as well as family members.

Ettinger said there are several offers for the purchase of the entire archive – including interest from the University of Michigan. Also, officials at the Rosa Parks Museum and Library at Troy State University in Montgomery, Ala., and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute are both considering purchase of the entire lot.

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