Rosa parks


 ***Date Change*** June General Membership Meeting

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Please note the June General Membership Session has changed from June 18th to June 25th, at 6 pm at the Charles Wright Museum.  The discussion will still be Banking and Small Business Lending Services.  Come on out and learn about the special products lenders have tailored specifically to small business owners.
Also, please register at the eventbrite link:
Laura Sigmon, Board Secretary
Detroit Black Chamber of Commerce


Water Affordability & Safety Hearing TOMORROW

What: Water Affordability & Safety Hearing

Who: Convened by Representatives Sheldon Neeley and Stephanie Chang and joined by other members of the Michigan legislature

When: Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 10 – 11:30 a.m.

Where: Room 426, Capitol Building, 100 Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933

Representatives Chang and Neeley, along with their Detroit and Flint colleagues in the Michigan legislature, invite community organizations and residents across Michigan to come and testify about issues related to water affordability and safety.

Since January 1, 2013, over 53,000 Detroiters had their water and sewerage abruptly terminated. Around 15,000 homes were not restored to service. There is financial assistance available, but a large number of residents (what is the number) on payment plans are behind on their payments. Last year, the United Nations Human Rights Council visited Detroit to intervene in Detroit’s water crisis, and the Lyda et al v City of Detroit lawsuit, brought by ten Detroit families experiencing water shutoffs, brought national attention to the crisis. We invite residents to participate and share testimony about the affordability, public health, constitutional and human rights aspects of Detroit’s water crisis as well as potential solutions.

In April 2014, the City of Flint switched from the Detroit water system to its own system using the Flint River. Residents discovered that the water they were using in their homes had a strange smell, taste, and appearance. Last year, high e-­‐coli levels forced boil-­‐water advisories, and then residents experienced skin rashes and hair loss. (What else should be added here) We invite residents to participate and share testimony about the safety, public health, and human rights aspects of Flint’s water crisis as well as potential solutions.

Going Strong Still. . .60 Years Long and Climbing!

APRIL 26TH, @3:00pm

Mrs. Althea T. Thomas will be honored for her 60 years of service as Organist of Dexter King Memorial Avenue Baptist  Church, where she started her playing under Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and still plays today.





WHEREAS,            Althea Thompson Thomas was born in Montgomery, Alabama, the youngest of two siblings, sister Gwendolyn Thompson Ligon, to the union of H.O, Thompson and Faustine Hilliard Thompson. Her father, Mr. 0. Thompson, renown in his own right as a composer, choral director and Trombonist, exposed both Althea and Gwendolyn to piano, orchestral and Organ scores as soon as they could walk. Althea began playing the Organ and piano for churches as a pre teen and has continued to do so for more than sixty years. As a musician, organist, mentor, composer, poet, painter, scholar and author, we honor Althea on this day for her many contributions.

WHEREAS,         Althea is the only Organist ever hired by Martin Luther King, Jr., during his historic time as Pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, sixty years ago. She often accompanied the Late Coretta Scott King as she served as soloist, alongside her husband,Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Althea played the Organ through all of the civil rights’ movement. From that organ pit at Dexter, she witnessed the horror on Dr. King’s face as he received word of the Birmingham bombing, which she later commemorated in a painting and poem. From that same organ pit, she also wept at news of the untimely death of Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr, and the homegoing of the late Rosa L. Parks.

WHEREAS,         Althea received her Bachelor of Arts Degree, and her Master’s Degrees from Alabama State University in both Music and Art, and taught at Alabama State University, and in the Montgomery Public School System for many years. She also taught at Lomax Hannon Junior College and participated in many workshops at Alabama State University, The University of Alabama, and others. Althea Thompson Thomas has owned and operated a music studio, House of the Arts and Thompson Legacy Studio, for more than forty years which teaches Art, and Music to children and adults alike. She also sponsors the Musical and Artistic performances of her students at various venues including the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church.

WHEREAS,        Althea Thompson Thomas is also a prolific composer of Music, both orchestral and choral. She has composed hundreds of piano scores for Piano pedagogy and for church celebrations. She is the author of several  Bible teaching supplements  and continues to write poetry and prose. She has exhibited her artwork across the county including Durham, North Carolina and Washington,D.C. Most recently, she had a show of her paintings,along with live teaching and narration at the Rosa Parks Library at Troy State University in Montgomery, Alabama.

WHEREAS,         Althea Thompson Thomas is the wife of Wiley Thomas, Jr.,and the mother of six children, seven grandchildren, and one great grandchild. She continues to spread her love of music through them, and in the many, many others that she teaches, daily.  Music is her passion and teaching young and old to perform is her successful life’s work. We celebrate her continued commitment to the cultural Development of all people.

Be It Resolved That,

On this 26th day of April, 2015, that this resolution be spread at length upon the journal of this day to endure a lasting record of respect and appreciation and that a suitable copy be presented to ALTHEA THOMPSON THOMAS as an expression of appreciation for all of her service to the Civil Rights Movement, her quiet courage, love of children and service to the Community and the nation.


Elaine E. Steele, Co-founder         Anita Peek, Executive Director

The Library of Congress: Honoring Rosa Parks

From the library of Congress:  Honoring Rosa Parks

Please see the web link below the article for the direct link to the Library of Congress website for the complete story.

Pics of the Week: Honoring Rosa Parks

U.S. Rep. John Conyers looks over his remarks with Elaine Steele, longtime friend of Rosa Parks. Photo by Shawn Miller.

The Library of Congress presented a special program on Tuesday to honor the Howard G. Buffett Foundation for loaning the Rosa Parks Collection to the Library. A special guest was U.S. Rep. John Conyers, who employed Rosa Parks in his Detroit congressional office for 22 years. Conyers described Rosa Parks as a quiet, humble person with a beautiful personality. He told the story of how one day she came to him and said:

“‘I’d like to ask for a pay reduction.’ I said ‘I beg your pardon? Nobody’s ever asked for that before.’ Nobody’s ever asked for it since. I said, ‘A pay reduction? Rosa Parks what are you talking about?” She said ‘Well, you know how you let me go to so many places in the country and even overseas. I feel I should have a reduction and I ask you to do that.” “I said ‘Mrs. Parks, you honor me by coming to my office and having worked with me for so long.’ It was no secret that more people came to see Rosa Parks in my office than came to see me. That’s an example of the kind of person she was. “For our government and our Library to raise her to this height makes me very, very proud of all of you,” Conyers said. Philanthropist Howard G. Buffett speaks during the ceremony honoring him for his purchase and loan of the Rosa Parks Collection to the Library. Photo by Shawn Miller.

The Rosa Parks Collection is on loan to the Library from the Buffett Foundation for 10 years. During the event, Buffett also spoke and described how he came to acquire the collection. According to Buffett, he had been watching the evening news and heard about the materials sitting in boxes in New York for 10 years.

“I thought, ‘that’s crazy. How can that be right?’” he said. He told his wife that his foundation should look into buying the collection, make sure it got preserved and put it somewhere for people to see.

It wasn’t until a woman from Florida – Patricia O’Toole – wrote to Buffett encouraging his foundation to buy the Parks collection and place it in good hands that he decided to act.

“I’m glad Patricia O’Toole wrote me that letter,” he said. “This is just the right thing to do.”

U.S. Rep.  John Conyers looks over items from the Rosa Parks Collection. Photo by Shawn Miller.

Buffett ending his remarks by saying that he travels a lot around the world: “Everybody wants to come to America. Everybody wants to come to the United States. There is a huge reason for that. There are many, but one is freedom and that is what Rosa Parks represents – freedom.” Several items from the Rosa Parks collection are included in the Library’s ongoing major exhibition “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom,” which is open through Jan. 2, 2016. Later this year, selected collection items will be accessible online. Donna Urschel, Public Affairs Specialist in the Office of Communications, contributed to this report.

  1. Posted in: Capitol Hill, Collections, Congress, Events, Exhibitions, Pic of the Week, Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington DC

This Sunday “Freedom Riders Film” at the Wright Museum

“Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” film series is back!

Presented by The Charles H. Wright Museum

Hosted by The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development

When: March 15th, 2015

Where: Charles H. Wright Museum

315 East Warren Ave, Detroit 48201

Time: 6-9pm (General Motors Room)


 Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses. The segregated southern United States in 1961 and following years to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional. The movie tells the terrifying and suspenseful story of a time when white and black volunteers riding a bus into the Deep South, risked being jailed, beaten or killed.

 For additional information, please contact us at:

 The Only Organization founded by Rosa Parks to continue her legacy


National Office

535 Griswold Street, Suite 111-513. Detroit, Michigan 48226

Phone: 313. 965. 0606