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Rosa Parks artifacts offer glimpse into Civil Rights struggle

On Wednesday, the Library of Congress will open a collection of artifacts.

By Amy R. Connolly
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Rosa Parks artifacts offer glimpse into Civil Rights struggle
Parks is shown in a June 15, 1999 file photo after being presented with the Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony at the Capitol in Washington. The civil rights pioneer refused to move from her bus seat when asked by a white person, sparking a 381-day bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., led by Martin Luther King, Jr. The Library of Congress will open its Rosa Parks Collection on Wednesday. File Photo by Ricardo Watson/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- From a handwritten postcard from Martin Luther King Jr. to personal notes, the Rosa Parks Collection opening at the Library of Congress will open Wednesday to offer a rare glimpse into the life of the civil rights icon.

The collection, opening to researchers on Parks' birthday, contains about 7,500 manuscripts and 2,500 photographs, including her Bible, a photo of the house where she was born and letters to her mother and husband.

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The items are part of a collection purchased by the Howard G. Buffet Foundation in August and on loan to the library for 10 years.

"The Rosa Parks Collection is a very important acquisition for the Library of Congress. Mrs. Parks has inspired people worldwide through her contributions to civil rights and her work with children," said Helena Zinkham, director of Collections and Services at the Library of Congress."The library is the ideal steward for her papers, because people will be able to study Parks' writing and activities alongside the records of many other civil rights leaders and organizations."

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From March 2 through March 30, about 24 items from the collection will be on view in glass cases at the library's Thomas Jefferson Building. Other items will be added to the library's "The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom" exhibit.

Parks, often called the mother of the freedom movement, became an vital civil rights leader after she refused to give up a bus seat to a white passenger in December 1955. She died in 2005 at age 92.

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