Settlement Reached In Dispute Over Parks Estate

Saturday, February 17th 2007, 2:31 pm
By: News On 6

DETROIT (AP) _ A settlement was reached Saturday in the dispute over the estate of civil rights icon Rosa Parks, including the rights to her name and image, a lawyer in the case said.

The settlement, the terms of which were not disclosed, avoids a trial between her relatives and the institute that bears her name.

Parks, who died in 2005 at 92, left nearly all of her estate to the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. Longtime friend Elaine Steele says Parks intended to leave her belongings and her legacy in the hands of the nonprofit organization she founded.

Parks' 13 nieces and nephews have feuded for years with the people she appointed to handle her affairs, and filed a legal challenge to her will in May.

Lawrence S. Pepper, one of the attorneys for Parks' relatives, said the settlement was reached about 12:30 a.m. Saturday. A gag order prevented him from disclosing any other details, he said.

Messages seeking comment were not immediately returned Saturday by other lawyers in the case or Wayne County Probate Judge Freddie Burton Jr. The court's online docket had not been updated with details.

Parks was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., city bus to a white man. The arrest sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and led to Martin Luther King Jr. becoming a national civil rights leader.

The settlement was first reported by The Detroit News and WDIV-TV in Detroit.