Howard Buffett Buys Rosa Parks Archive

howard-buffett-250wFor years, there have been hundreds of items that belonged to Rosa Parks stored in a warehouse in New York that most people have never had access to. That is about to change as a result of the benefaction of Howard Buffett, son of Warren Buffet.

Mr. Buffett’s plan, according to the AP, is for his foundation to give the relics away so that they can be displayed for all to see. The trove include Parks’ Presidential Medal of Freedom. No plans for which museum(s) will receive the items have been announced, but a worthy candidate is expected to be named soon as it is Buffett’s belief that these items should be honored by the public.

To quote him, he stated that was wanting to preserve what is for the benefit of the public.” He went on to say that he had considered what Mrs. Parks would have liked, concluding that he did not believe she would have wanted everything to be hidden away, and for people to be fighting over it.

His last statement is in regards to the heirs and friends of Mrs. Parks who have been doing just that, resulting in this sale to the highest bidder.

Rosa Parks Facts: Mrs. Parks passed away in 2005. She was 92-years-old and her enduring legacy is that of being one of the most revered people in U.S. history. As many know, it began when she refused to forfeit her right to sit in a seat that was deemed for whites, leading to her arrest. This led to a yearlong boycott of the busing services for which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became a national figure in the freedom movement.

Sadly, the dispute over Rosa Parks’ estate has led to there being no access by members of the general public or those in the academic community to these items that also include photographs, the Congressional Gold Medal, the outfit she wore on that historic day, and her diary.

Howard Buffett was moved to make the purchase when he saw a news report stating that the items had been warehoused since 2006, stating that he could not fathom how this could have happened, and that he was determined to right this wrong.

This led to his direction of the foundation to take possession of the items so that they could be disseminated for the public good.

The amount that the items were purchased for has not been disclosed, but a source close to the matter has gone on record as saying that the price paid for them was in line with what they had been valued. One record has stated that the amount of noted value was at or near $10 million, but this has not been disclosed as to whether the sale was for this amount.

The entire lot of goods consisted of more than 1,000 items. They included very common personal possessions to the more glamorous items noted earlier.

Among many reasons that these goods were purchased to be displayed is that Mr. Buffett felt that their absence was impeding the education of many young students who study civil rights, the idea being that if they were able to put physical objects with the story it would encourage learning. Additionally, it was felt that it was an act of dishonoring Mrs. Parks and all the work she did by not having them available for others to see.

For those who know the Buffett heir, and the good work he does, this was out of place. He normally reserves his work to helping American farmers. However, he felt compelled to do this, feeling it was important to display the Rosa Parks Archive.

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