Lawyer: Rosa Parks artifacts sold for $4.5M
Detroit — The purchase price for hundreds of items that belonged to civil rights icon Rosa Parks was $4.5 million, a lawyer said Friday, a day after the deal was confirmed by the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
Howard G. Buffett declined to reveal the amount his foundation paid for the items, which have remained in storage in New York for years, but the price was listed in a court filing and disclosed by an attorney for Parks’ heirs.
After an auction house gets a commission, 20 percent of the balance goes to Parks’ relatives, with the rest set aside for the Rosa & Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development in Detroit, said Lawrence Pepper.
“This property has been on the market since 2007,” Pepper told The Associated Press. “We had a few feelers from other places, but they were not in the range of what everybody felt was reasonable. The offer from the Buffett people was the first one that everybody agreed was reasonable.”
Buffett said his foundation plans to give the items to an institute or museum for public display. There are more than 1,000 artifacts, including Parks’ Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal, letters, clothing and furniture.
“They’re going to do the right thing with it,” Pepper said of the foundation. “They bought it. It’s theirs.”
Parks, who died in 2005, became a pioneer in the civil rights movement by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. She later moved to Detroit and worked for more than 20 years for U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.
The bus was restored and is displayed at The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn.