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Exhibition Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words

Rosa Parks to Leona McCauley concerning Jeremiah Reeves, April 7, 1958. Autograph letter. Rosa Parks Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (081.00.00)

The Jeremiah Reeves Case

In 1952 sixteen-year-old Jeremiah Reeves, a talented drummer and grocery delivery boy, was having a consensual relationship with a white female customer on his route. When the affair was discovered she cried rape. He was convicted and sentenced to death. The Montgomery NAACP interceded. Rosa Parks corresponded with Reeves and helped get his poetry published. But despite the persistent efforts of the NAACP and Martin Luther King, Jr., Reeves was executed on March 28, 1958, at age twenty-two.