Civil rights icon Rosa Parks’ Detroit abode has officially been rebuilt in Berlin, Germany, safe from the demolition that once hounded it.
Rhea McCauley, Parks’ niece, bought the home for $500 and donated it to American artist Ryan Mendoza, who took the home down piece by piece, shipped it overseas in containers and rebuilt it in Germany’s Wedding district in the summer of 2016.
“It is something that is precious an it is priceless,” McCauley told the Associated Press during a first-time visit to the two-story house’s new location. “And, yet, it is being mistreated. That’s what I saw. And that’s how it felt. And so when I met Ryan and he said, ‘Let’s bring it to Berlin and restore it,’ I said, ‘Yes.'”
It took six months for Mendoza to rebuild the wooden home that Parks lived in with her brother and his family beginning in the mid-1950s. According to Deutsche Welle, the house sits in Mendoza’s garden, which neighbors his studio.
“It would be a difficult thing to do if you didn’t want to do it,” he told the AP. “But I wanted to do it so much that it was a joy. Each day, when I saw something completed at the project was a day that I had fulfilled something wonderful in my life.”
As McCauley walked through the home, she was taken back to spending time with Aunt Rosa, who sparked the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott by refusing to give up her seat to a white man in 1955.
“Each little nook and cranny, each part of the board that you see is worn by weather, you know, to me [it] shows her personality,” she said. “What she went through. As a beautiful woman, as a smart woman and as a courageous woman.”
The home was on public display Saturday, April 6, but only for outside viewing. Mendoza is uncertain about what’s next for the historic site, but he hopes to sell it to an art institution and donate proceeds to the Rosa Parks Family Foundation.