While Rosa Parks remains an iconic symbol of the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s, her legacy remains in legal limbo as representatives of her estate and some of her family members continue to battle over her possessions in a Michigan probate court. However, news comes from the probate court that the estate battle may finally be coming to a close.
After her death in 2005, Rosa Parks left behind an estate that had become very valuable largely because of her role in the civil rights movement. Her intellectual property and personal memorabilia was itself estimated to be worth anywhere from between $8 million and $10 million. Since her death, 15 of her nieces and nephews, as well as the nonprofit organization she founded, have been battling over who owns the memorabilia and who has rights to her intellectual property.
The battle over the property culminated in a Michigan Supreme Court ruling last December, wherein the court ordered that the memorabilia should be returned toThe Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, a nonprofit organization Ms. Parks had established. Previously, a Michigan appeals court had ruled that the 15 nieces and nephews have the right to own the property because they were the legal heirs of the Parks estate.
The Michigan probate court judge presiding over the case has stated that he will issue an order transferring the property from the nieces and nephews to the Institute. The order will also dictate that, in accordance with the Supreme Court decision, any proceeds of the sale of the memorabilia will be returned to the Institute, which will receive 80%, as well as to the nieces and nephews, which will receive the remaining 20%.