OAK BROOK, Ill., Oct. 26 (UPI) -- The Montgomery, Ala., city bus Rosa Parks rode when she refused to give up her seat to a white man 45 years ago, giving birth to the modern civil rights movement that ended Jim Crow segregation in the South, was auctioned Friday.
An anonymous cultural institution made the winning bid of $492,000 for the rusted-out yellow and green 1936 diesel-powered General Motors bus.
"There were 45 to 48 bids," said Juile Stoklosa of MastroNet, Inc., a suburban Chicago auction house for sports memorabilia and collectibles. "I don't know what they plan for it ... but we feel good about the sale. It's good folk."
MastroNet conducted a long process to authenticate the bus, she said, looking at police reports and surviving bus company records. The bus Parks was aboard on Dec. 1, 1955 was GM model 36-10 "short bus" with an automatic transmission, with the Cloverdale route on the information roll and "Cleveland Avenue" spelled out above the windshield.
"It's 60 years old and in need of restoration," Stoklosa said.
Parks, 87, known as the mother of the freedom movement, was a humble 42-year-old seamstress when she was arrested for refusing to give her seat to a white man after the driver extended the seating area reserved for whites and ordered her to move.
A city law required blacks to sit in the back of public buses.
For years, historians said Parks was just tired when she refused to move, but when she was honored with the Spingyard Medal in 1979, Parks said she consciously decided she could no longer stand for segregation.
She lost her job, moved the Detroit in 1957 and later worked in the office of Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich.
Her courage galvanized the black community and a young Baptist minister named Martin Luther King Jr. led mass protests in what became the Montgomery Bus Boycott. African-American citizens boycotted the city bus line for 381 days, successfully challenging the constitutionality of Montgomery's segregation laws.
The bus was bought by an Alabama family in the 1970s for use as a storage unit and appeared in the 1990 movie "The Long Walk Home," about the bus boycott.
"We are confident that the bus will be preserved," said MastroNet Inc. CEO William Mastro. "As we have always hoped, the buyer of the bus respects its significance and understands the important role it has in American History."