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Rosa Parks Federal Building in Detroit

Rosa Parks’ name to grace larger federal building in Detroit

| GSA Blog Team
Post filed in: Buildings  |  Civil Rights

When most people hear the name Rosa Parks, they think of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1950s Alabama, where Parks was a spark in the early days of the civil rights movement.

But after her pivotal role in Montgomery, Parks moved to Detroit to continue her equity work, where she lived near family until 1988.

Parks participated in the March on Washington (1963), Mississippi Freedom Summer (1964), the Selma to Montgomery March (1965), and the Poor People’s Campaign (1968) after the bus boycott in Montgomery, where she refused to give up her seat for a white passenger, according to the Library of Congress

“She also fought for women’s rights and against the Vietnam War. Rosa continued to advocate for prisoners and supported the growing Black Power movement,” her LOC webpage states. 

Parks worked for Detroit-area Rep. John Conyers from 1965 to 1988 and supported Jesse Jackson’s 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns. In the mid-1980s, she participated in the anti-apartheid protests. Parks welcomed Nelson Mandela when he visited the U.S. In 1987, she co-founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development to educate and direct youth.

For Parks’ dedication and legacy, a new law has renamed the building at 985 Michigan Ave. in Detroit the Rosa Parks Federal Building after Congressional and White House approval. The building represents the third-largest federal footprint in the Detroit area, at 516,000 rentable square feet. GSA aims to award construction for signage next year with a spring 2025 installation. 

GSA will auction the smaller federal building formerly named for Parks at 333 Mount Elliott St. after tenants are relocated to the larger site. The auction of the property should take six to eight weeks, followed by 60 days for final closing.