Rosa Parks' house on display in Naples

image copyrightEPA

image captionThe house is on display in Naples as part of an exhibition called Almost Home – The Rosa Parks House Project

The one-time home of US civil rights legend Rosa Parks has gone on display inside the Royal Palace of Naples.

In 1955 Parks refused to give up her seat on a racially segregated bus in Alabama – a key moment in the US civil rights moment.

She received death threats and moved north to Detroit, where she briefly lived in the white clapboard house with relatives.

After a legal dispute in the US the house is now on display in Italy.

The US Congress has referred to Parks as “the first lady of civil rights”.

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On 1 December 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger and was arrested for civil disobedience.

The incident led to a year-long bus boycott in the city. In November 1956, a federal court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional, and Parks was immortalised as a key figure in the fight against institutionalised racism.

image captionRosa Parks has been referred to as the “first lady of civil rights”
image captionHer house be on free display at the Royal Palace in Naples until 6 January 2021

Detroit city authorities planned to demolish the two-storey building after the financial crisis in 2008. But Parks’s niece Rhea McCauley bought it from Detroit officials for $500 and sold it to US artist Ryan Mendoza.

Mr Mendoza tried to have the city save the building but in 2016 took it apart and moved it to Berlin for display at his studio.

media captionWhy has Rosa Parks’ house travelled 8,000 miles?

In 2018, Brown University in Rhode Island said it would display the house as part of a civil rights exhibition. But it then dropped out because of a legal dispute with her family.

Mr Mendoza later contacted the Morra Greco Foundation where he previously worked. The body agreed to show the house at the Royal Palace in Naples, with the backing of the regional government in Campania.

The display is part of an exhibition called Almost Home – The Rosa Parks House Project.

A repeating soundtrack titled 8:46 plays alongside the displayed house, in reference to the length of time a white police officer allegedly knelt on the neck of black man George Floyd in May.

His killing sparked international protests and condemnation of police brutality and racism in the US.

Derek Chauvin, the former officer accused of killing Floyd, appeared in court last week.

media captionGeorge Floyd murder suspect Derek Chauvin was seen leaving after his first court appearance in person

Related Topics

  • Italy

  • African-American Civil Rights Movement
  • United States
  • Naples

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