An Artist Rebuilt and Preserved Rosa Parks’s Home. Now That It Failed to Sell at Auction, Its Fate H
The humble monument to the Civil Rights movement could be saved by a university, a foundation, or a pair of Detroit businessmen.
The story of Rosa Parks, an unquestioned American hero, is permanently etched into the annals of American history. But the future of the house where the civil rights activist sought refuge after fleeing Montgomery, Alabama, amid death threats currently hangs in limbo. After a journey from Detroit to Berlin and back to the US, Parks’s former home failed to sell at auction last month. Three weeks later, a bidding war for the house is being played out, artnet News has learned. But a buyer has yet to seal the deal.
It has been a grueling month for Ryan Mendoza, the Berlin-based American artist who helped save the little wooden structure by reconstructing it in the German capital last year.
But Mendoza is staying positive. He hopes that Parks’s house, which failed to meet its $1 million reserve when it went to auction at Guernsey’s, will ultimately become a national monument to the civil rights movement somewhere in the US. “Rosa Parks is having a teaching moment, once again, through this house,” he says.
Speaking from his Berlin studio, Mendoza says that negotiations are ongoing between a couple businessmen from Detroit, a university, and a foundation. He hopes the foundation’s bid will prevail.
Arlan Ettinger, the president of Guernsey’s, explained that it was a glitch that caused the house to go unsold at auction: “Minutes after the house was offered and did not get sold, I received a phone call from two gentlemen.” At the very last instant, they had tried to register online, but their application to become bidders was not accepted due to the timing. “Unfortunately, these gentlemen fell between the cracks,” he says.