Black History

Brown U. Nixes Display of Rosa Parks House Amid Contention

The Detroit house where civil right activist Rosa Parks is said to have lived after moving from the South is at center of a dispute that has involved some of her family members and the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development.

As a result, Brown University has backed down from plans to display the house that had been on a demolition list until it was saved by Parks’ niece and artist Ryan Mendoza, The Associated Press reported.

With the university’s backing, Mendoza, who had moved the house to Berlin, brought it back to the United States in pieces last month and was reassembling it when the Ivy League university on Thursday made the abrupt announcement.

Brown spokesman Brian Clark said in an email that the university “took steps quickly upon learning recently about the dispute.”

“Brown is not a party in the dispute and therefore we are not in a position to speak about the nature of the dispute,” Clark said when asked for more details, AP reported. “Also, we know that individuals involved in the dispute intended to object strongly if the exhibit proceeded. It is out of our respect for the legacy of Rosa Parks that Brown is stepping aside.”

Steven Cohen, an lawyer for the institute, discounted any connection.

“The truth is, she didn’t stay there,” he told The Brown Daily Herald student newspaper in February, AP reported. “It’s a house which Rosa Parks’ brother and his family used to live in. It’s no more Rosa Parks’ house than it is my house.”

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