New Aim for Rosa Parks' Home: Return It to US

Artist Ryan Mendoza, who brought it to Berlin, says now is the right time
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2017 11:24 AM CDT
New Aim for Rosa Parks' Home: Return It to US
In this April 6, 2017, photo, American artist Ryan Mendoza poses in front of the rebuilt house of Rosa Parks in Berlin.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Last year, an American artist living in Germany bought Rosa Parks' dilapidated home in Detroit and reassembled it in Berlin as an art project. Now Ryan Mendoza says it's time for the home to return to the US, per the Detroit Free Press. He cites the recent racial violence in Virginia and the rippling effects of the removal of Confederate statues around the US, making the case that Parks' home would provide a powerful counterpoint. "There are very, very few monuments to the civil rights movement," he tells the Free Press. The big hitch, however, is getting someone, or some institution, to pay for its relocation. Mendoza says that Detroit's cultural institutions don't seem interested, raising the prospect that the home could end up in a museum elsewhere in the country.

So far, one group—the Nash Family Foundation in New York—has pledged up to $40,000, but while other institutions have expressed interest in displaying the 21-by-21-foot-long home, actual monetary offers aren't following. Mendoza says he's spent about $130,000 to move and restore the house, though the interior work isn't yet complete. "I'm fond of the house," he tells NBC News, "but this house has to go back to the United States, and now is the time." (The late founder of Little Caesar's quietly paid Parks' rent for years.)

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