The former Detroit home of iconic civil rights activist Rosa Parks was put on display in Germany. The three-bedroom wooden structure was deconstructed and reconstructed through the efforts of European-based American artist Ryan Mendoza.
The home would have been demolished if it has remained in the Motor City. Park´s niece, Rhea McCauley, owned the home for several years and was unsuccessful in raising the funds required to have it restored. She purchased the house from Detroit city for a meager sum of $500. "It is something that is precious," she told The Detroit of Free Press. “It is priceless, And yet it is being mistreated.
Parks lived in the house, with extended family, in the late 1950s.
Mendoza has experience in this area as he had previously rebuilt another house for exhibition in the Netherlands – when he faced accusations of trafficking "ruin porn." After coming to an agreement regarding the treasured piece on a plan with McCauley, Mendoza and several volunteers started carefully taking the house apart last August. The artist paid to have the materials shipped in October to rebuilt the property.
The exterior of the house replicates the home's original exterior, but Mendoza told the Post that the interior remains hidden behind curtains "to restore its dignity." He accompanied the opening display with audio from when Parks lived in the house. The house reopens to the public from April 28 to 30.
Mendoza hopes to eventually sell the house and donate proceeds to the Rosa Parks Family Foundation.