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August 29, 2014

Howard G. Buffett Foundation Buys Rosa Parks Archive

Howard G. Buffett disclosed Thursday that his charitable organization has purchased a collection of awards, photographs, clothes, and hundreds of other items belonging to civil-rights icon Rosa Parks, the Associated Press reports. The son of billionaire philanthropist and investor Warren Buffett said he will donate the archive to an as-yet-unselected museum or institute.

Ms. Parks, whose refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus to a white man in 1955 made her an enduring symbol of the fight for integration, died in 2005 at age 92. A dispute among her heirs and friends over her will resulted in her belongings being put up for auction. In the meantime, they have been stored in a New York warehouse and her Detroit home, unavailable to scholars and historians.

"I'm only trying to do one thing: preserve what's there for the public's benefit," said Mr. Buffett, whose philanthropy has mainly focused on hunger and improving agriculture in the developing world. "I doubt that [Ms. Parks] would want to have her stuff sitting in a box with people fighting over them." The purchase price was not disclosed, but Guernsey's Auctioneers, which managed the collection, has put its value at $10-million.