She ranks as one of the greatest civil rights icons of all time, all starting with a seemingly simple act of refusing to move from a bus seat. Rosa Parks passed away at age 92 in 2005, living in a modest apartment in Detroit, Michigan. Her estate was modest too. Officially valued at $372,624 in monetary terms but priceless in terms of memories and historical significance.

Her final wishes were not so modest. She assigned all of her belongings to a charitable institute to “educate and motivate youth and adults, particularly African American persons, for self and community betterment.” She called this the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development. She named her close friend, Elaine Steele, along with a retired Detroit judge, to oversee her estate.  She also named Elaine Steele as a prominent beneficiary, including a 90% recipient of royalties, with 10% passing to her nieces and nephews.

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