Rosa Parks’ Writings Available to Public, Revealing a ‘Lonely’ Woman ‘Cut Off From Life’

Rosa Parks
Wikimedia Commons
Rosa Parks
Wikimedia Commons

Rosa Parks’ volumes of letters, writings, photographs and personal notes will be released to the Library of Congress on Wednesday, giving researchers and the public access to the revered civil rights figure’s life and innermost thoughts, the Associated Press reports.


Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person on a Montgomery, Ala., bus in 1955 at a time when African Americans were supposed to, but experts say the collection will go beyond that iconic moment and expose a woman who was “complex,” AP explains.

Parks jotted down notes about the Jim Crow South, another AP report reveals, including how segregated buses had seats designated for white passengers and how a white bus driver would drive by a bus stop filled with Africans Americans, even if those seats were vacant, when “he thinks enough [blacks] are standing in the aisle,” Parks said in a handwritten note. “This means a larger number [of blacks] will be waiting for the next bus.”

Parks also wrote poetically about feeling “lonely” and wanting “to feel the nearness of something secure.” She became famous for her act of defiance against segregation, but her writings reveal a woman who came to feel isolated and detached from others.

“It is such a lonely, lost feeling that I am cut off from life,” Parks wrote. “I am nothing. I belong nowhere and to no one. There is just so much hurt, disappointment and oppression one can take. The bubble of life grows larger. The line between reason and madness grows thinner.”

The trove of Parks’ writings was at the center of a long legal battle between her heirs and friends until philanthropist Howard Buffett—billionaire Warren Buffett’s son—bought the rights to it in 2014 and lent it to the national library.

Read more at the Associated Press here and here.