[00:00.00]Rosa Parks became famous in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama.
[00:14.07]She was important in the movement for civil rights in the American South during the 1950s and 60s.
[00:23.47]At the time, blacks in the South were forced to sit in the back of public buses and to give up their seats to white people.
[00:34.49]Parks moved to Detroit, Michigan, in 1957 to escape death threats.
[00:42.85]She continued living in Detroit until her death in 2005, at age 92.
[00:51.10]But the house in Detroit where Parks lived for many years was abandoned and scheduled to be torn down.
[01:02.13]Her niece, Rhea McCauley, bought it for $500 to stop it from being destroyed.
[01:10.69]She then gave it to American artist, Ryan Mendoza.
[01:15.99]Mendoza and others took it apart and then sent it across the Atlantic Ocean to the German capital of Berlin.
[01:27.09]There, he led efforts to rebuild the house.
[01:32.11]It now is behind his own house in Berlin.
[01:36.73]It gets daily visitors, although it is difficult to find, Mendoza said.
[01:44.51]But less than a year after the house was rebuilt in Berlin, Mendoza decided it should be returned to the United States.
[01:55.80]He made the decision after deadly violence took place at a recent white nationalist event in Charlottesville, Virginia.
[02:05.93]That incident increased calls for removing statues of Confederate leaders from the Civil War in the U.S.
[02:15.73]Mendoza said there are not enough civil rights monuments “to balance things out” with the Confederate statues.
[02:28.40]He said the Rosa Parks house belongs back in America.
[02:34.92]“Imagine if the house were on a public setting in a prominent city in the U.S.,” Mendoza said.
[02:44.13]“That’s an education tool that shouldn’t be denied the American people. They have to know their past.”
[02:54.10]Peter Hammer is a law professor and director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University in Detroit.
[03:05.65]He believes the house would be welcomed back in Detroit.
[03:10.84]“My sense is that the Germans have adequately shamed us for not protecting our own history,” Hammer told VOA.
[03:22.82]He noted that Detroit has failed to protect historical homes in the past.
[03:31.14]Such houses include the former home of Ralph Bunche, the first African-American to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
[03:40.94]He received the award in 1950 for helping negotiate peace between Israelis and Arabs that led to the creation of the country of Israel in 1948.
[03:56.23]Bunche’s home in Detroit became a parking lot.
[04:00.61]Detroit’s failure to protect history also is shown by the loss of the Rosa Parks house, Hammer said.
[04:10.66]He said that Parks was an important civil rights activist “long before" she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Alabama.
[04:22.98]In Detroit, Hammer said Parks served as a mentor to people fighting for equal rights.
[04:29.33]A mentor is someone who gives help and advice to people who are less experienced.
[04:36.61]I’m Bruce Alpert.