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Exhibition Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words

Virginia Durr to Rosa Parks concerning their honorary degrees from Mount Holyoke College, June 15, 1981. Typed letter. Rosa Parks Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (085.00.00)

Mount Holyoke College

In 1951 E. D. Nixon introduced Rosa Parks to Virginia Durr, a liberal white activist and native Alabaman newly settled in Montgomery. Durr cofounded the Southern Conference Educational Fund (1946), which supported the bus boycott and other civil rights causes. She hired Rosa as a dressmaker, became a mentor, and asked friends to help with Rosa’s financial difficulties. Mount Holyoke College awarded Doctor of Humane Letters degrees to both activists on May 24, 1981.