Activist, icon, Civil Rights leader. These are just a few of the titles that the late Rosa Parks was known as.
Now, you can get a closer look into her life thanks to a new exhibit at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words opened this past Thursday and aims to give spectators a glimpse into Parks’ personal life as well as her life as an activist.
“We wanted to get beyond the legend,” Carla Hayden, the librarian of Congress, told USA TODAY. “Beyond the tired woman on the bus.”
The exhibit is literally all things Rosa Parks. There are nearly 10,000 items that date back over 140 years. Everything from handwritten letters to and from Parks as well as family artifacts. Additionally, you can learn about her time as secretary of the Montgomery NAACP in 1943 and her working on Rep. John Conyers’ congressional staff from 1965 to 1988.
“Rosa Parks lived a life dedicated to equal rights and social justice, and she helped change the country with the example she set,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in a statement. “Our new exhibition is an important milestone for Rosa Parks to tell her story for new generations through her own words and pictures now preserved at the Library of Congress.”
As an added perk, there will be reference librarians on hand that can assist you with being able to see and use these artifacts for your own personal research projects. The materials will also be available online for download.
“For a little woman from Alabama to be in this awesome building … she in her wildest dreams would’ve never dreamed that she would be portrayed like this or that her personal writings would be exposed,” says Jane Gunter, who was on the Montgomery bus with Parks.