NEW YORK, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- An attorney for an organization named for Rosa Parks says the U.S. civil rights icon's friend are "mortified" that her personal letters are to be auctioned.
The battle between Parks' relatives and the Rosa and Raymond Institute for Self Development over her estate has been ongoing since Parks' death in 2005, ABC News reported. A Michigan court settled the dispute by authorizing Guernsey's Auctioneers and Brokers of New York to sell Parks' property.
Among the items to be sold is civil rights-era memorabilia with an estimated value of $8 million to $10 million. It includes personal letters written by Parks as a teenager and later in life to her mother and husband, one of which details an rape attempt on Parks by a white neighbor.
"The folks who cared about Rosa Parks the most, the folks at her institute, her best friend, Elaine Steele, and others are mortified that her private thoughts have now been published," said Steven Cohen, an attorney for the Institute.
Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey's Auctioneers and Brokers said he is acting on the court's authority.
"The court decided that the archive needed to be sold and that the proceeds would be divided by the court in a matter it saw fit," Ettinger said. "The court has spoken repeatedly and repeatedly informed us to do what we're doing. We are neutral here and simply following the dictates of the court."