A recently found first-person essay written by Rosa Parks details a harrowing attempted rape, which has some wondering if the civil rights activist once had a brush with sexual assault. A representative from the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development in Detroit, an institute Parks helped create, disputed the idea, saying the essay is a work of fiction. Still, the six-page document is being included with thousands of documents of the civil rights activist in the Manhattan warehouse and the offices of Guernsey's Auctioneers. Civil rights historian Danielle McGuire said an attempted rape could help explain Parks’ lifelong campaign against the ritualistic rape of black women by white men.
INSIGHTS Parks rides a Montgomery, Ala. bus after a Supreme Court ruling ended segration, 1956. Photo: Bettmann-Corbis