It sure looks out of place, standing in the central courtyard of the Royal Palace in Naples. This is the house where U.S. civil rights icon Rosa Parks took refuge after her historic bus boycott.
The latest stop in a years-long saga/ that began when Parks’ niece saved the two-story home from demolition in Detroit, following the 2008 subprime crisis. Rosa Parks’ family asked the artist Ryan Mendoza to give her a new life.S he donated it to an American artist who rebuilt it for public display in Germany, and now Italy, after failing to find a permanent resting place for it in the United States.
“It was a house that was on the demolition list, a house that the government in America was very ready to demolish, remembers Mendoza. T_he family paid 500 dollars to initially protect the house from demolition, and they asked me, after asking 25 different institutions they asked me, would I be willing to help save the house, and I said, of course, yes, I would.”_
Rosa Parks moved in the house for a short time after her 1955 act of defiance, when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger.
The year-long refusal of African Americans to ride city buses that followed is regarded as the first major demonstration against segregation.
Today, Maurizio Morra Greco, president of the Morra Greco Foundation, who helped organize the exhibit with the backing of the Italian culture ministry and Campania regional government, says the house is an important symbol of racial injustice.
“I have looked and look with great interest at the social aspect that this sculpture and this installation suggests to us, because I am convinced that at this moment Naples has the opportunity to contribute to this phenomenon of integration. I believe that exhibiting this work here is a gift, but also a burden, because it obliges us to reflect, claims Greco.”
The display, a part of an exhibition called Almost Home – The Rosa Parks House Project will be on free display at the Royal Palace in Naples until 6 January 2021.