January 9, 2015 Co-Founder of Rosa & Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development To Share Recollections of Civil Rights Icon

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Helena Zinkham (202) 707-2922
Contact: Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or ada@loc.gov

The Library of Congress, the Library of Congress Chapter of Blacks in Government and the Daniel A.P. Murray African American Culture Association of the Library of Congress will co-host a panel discussion, “Rosa Parks: Beyond the Bus,” with Elaine Steele, a longtime associate of civil rights leader Rosa Parks and co-founder of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. Joining Steele are Ella McCall Haygan, who also worked for Parks and is co-director of Pathways to Freedom, and Anita Peek, current executive director of the institute.

The program, which is free and open to the public, takes place from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 15 in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Tickets are not needed.

The speakers will share their stories about working with Rosa Parks and taking inspiration from her deep commitment not only to civil rights but to helping young people. The talk precedes the opening for research, later this year, of the Rosa Parks Collection at the Library of Congress and the incorporation of items from the collection into the Library’s ongoing exhibition “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom.”

The Library of Congress in September 2014 became the new home of the collection, which is on loan for 10 years from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

Elaine Eason Steele worked for more than 20 years for federal, state and local governments, rising from clerk to supervisor. In 1987, she co-founded with Rosa Parks the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development in honor of Mrs. Parks’ late husband Raymond (1903-1977). For many years as an executive assistant to Parks, Steele traveled with and coordinated all appearances by Mrs. Parks with leaders, heads of state and organizations throughout the world. She gained national recognition as the co-founder and developer of the Pathways to Freedom program.

Ella McCall Haygan is co-director of the Washington DC/Metro Regional chapter of Pathways to Freedom’s Youth Program of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. Mrs. Parks’ Pathways to Freedom Youth Program offers an educational and historical research opportunity for students ages 11 to 17. Haygan also founded and runs a free social-services organization, From Streets to Skills Social Services on Wheels, to bring skills and services to youth, homeless families, former gang members and others in need.

Anita Peek has served as the executive director of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development since 1996. Under her leadership, the organization has grown to offer five separate programs, including the signature youth-development history expedition, Pathways to Freedom, and the Rosa L. Parks Learning Center, which specializes in intergenerational computer-based training.

Blacks In Government ® (BIG) was established in 1975 to enable all present and future black employees in local, state and federal governments to have the ability to maximize their career opportunities and to provide a mechanism for inclusion, growth and advocacy. Incorporated in 1976, Blacks in Government is a national organization with chapters located in government agencies nationwide. Further information about the national BIG organization can be found at bignet.org External.

The Daniel A.P. Murray African American Culture Association of the Library of Congress was organized to increase awareness and appreciation of African-American culture, through educational, scholarly, cultural, benevolent, civic and nonprofit social activities. The association was founded by Sylvia Lyons Render in 1979. She was appointed as the first specialist in African-American history and culture in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. She was instrumental in augmenting the Library's holdings in African-American history and culture.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its website at www.loc.gov.


PR 15-005
ISSN 0731-3527