Rosa Parks' house may be returned to US from Germany
Rosa Parks' house may be returned to US from Germany In this Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017 photo American artist Ryan Mendoza poses during an interview with the Associated Press in front of the rebuilt house of Rosa Parks in Berlin. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Rosa Parks' house may be returned to US from Germany
Lexile: 910L

Assign to Google Classroom

American artist Ryan Mendoza painstakingly disassembled the small wood-frame home of civil rights icon Rosa Parks. He did this after learning that the struggling city of Detroit was going to demolish it. He shipped it across the Atlantic Ocean. He rebuilt it in the German capital of Berlin. He saved the home and created a new tourist attraction.

The house has been up in Berlin less than a year.  After the events of the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia it's now clear to Mendoza that Parks' house needs to return soon to the U.S.

"It's actually become a necessity.” We see people rising up and seeing things for what they are," he said. "As Americans begin to understand they have to re-contextualize the Confederate statues, there is a lack of civil rights monuments to balance things out."

Parks died in 2005. She became a leading name in the civil rights movement. In 1955, she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama. She moved to Detroit in 1957. She made the move to escape death threats. She stayed in the house with her brother and his family. They crammed into the tiny residence with more than 15 people.

After the financial crisis of 2008 and Detroit's dramatic decline, Parks' home was abandoned. It was and put on a list for demolition. Parks' niece Rhea McCauley instead bought it from the city for $500. She donated it to Mendoza for preservation. In 2016, he and others took it carefully apart. Then they rebuilt it on the lot in Berlin where his studio and home are located.

Queen Yahna, a soul and gospel singer from Philadelphia who now lives in Berlin, performed for the crowd at the house's official dedication in April. Visiting the house this week, she said it doesn't matter to her where the house is as long as Parks' struggle is remembered.

"The issue of racism is going on, negative things are going on and there are different things, positive, that can be brought to light, not just physical monuments," she said. "The spirit is more important."

But Mendoza said even though the house is tucked away on his lot, it still draws curious onlookers daily - including many Americans - showing how important a symbol it is.

"Imagine if the house were on a public setting in a prominent city in the U.S.?" he said. "That's an educational tool that shouldn't be denied the American people. They have to know their past."

He said a foundation has offered to help pay the costs of moving it back to the U.S., and he's been in talks with museums and a university about putting it on display, but there's no timeline yet on when the house may return.

His dream would be to see the derelict home reconstructed on the lawn of the White House with the blessing of U.S. President Donald Trump.

McCauley, Parks' niece who still lives in Detroit, told The Associated Press that she would welcome the home's return to the U.S.

"We need all the help we can get, in light of all current events," she said.

Source URL:

Filed Under:  
Assigned 165 times
How can this house become an educational tool?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • Karleighd-eic
    9/01/2017 - 11:28 a.m.

    They should bring it back to the U.S because she needs to be honored. She helped us to be save and free from slavery.

  • McKinleel-eic
    9/01/2017 - 01:50 p.m.

    I cant believe that they might be bringing back Rosa Park's home. I think that would be so cool to see, it would also be very historical.

  • Jordanng-eic
    9/01/2017 - 03:13 p.m.

    This is history we`re talking about. I think they should bring it back to the U.S. If they do it they should put it in a museum to keep it safe. She helped us through slavery. Save the house!

  • jazminew-orv
    9/07/2017 - 03:08 p.m.

    I think the house should be returned and put in America to help give me a reminder we are all human and equal. And it can keep Rosa's legacy alive in America.

  • ANALLE01
    9/08/2017 - 08:53 a.m.

    I think that Rosa parks house should be brought back to the USA because she was one of the historic people who id not listen to the unequal rights when she was on that bus. She stayed where she was even though the buss driver told her to move and she said "I am tird" and she stayed.

  • holdenj-orv
    9/08/2017 - 11:39 a.m.

    Its stupid that Detroit tried do Destroy a Landmark

  • Parkera-eic
    9/13/2017 - 09:56 a.m.

    i think its sad that they moved it so many time they should have just left it where it was

  • jackiek-orv
    9/14/2017 - 02:59 p.m.

    why did it go to Germany its Americas

  • veruanikkan-cel
    9/22/2017 - 02:41 p.m.

    Rosa Parks is a very important person in US history, for her involvement and role in the civil rights movement.I think that it would be neat for her home to return back to the US. Seeing as this is her home country where her impact in society was the strongest.This house could be an educational tool as a way of preserving and showing our history to the ages to come.

  • Clarab-eic
    9/28/2017 - 01:11 p.m.

    I hope they move Rosa Parks house back very soon! I think they should put the house by The White House.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment