Rosa Parks artifacts coming to Decatur


DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) — Evelyn Hood is in the story business — both the triumphant and the painful.

"Many African-Americans don't realize what a great history they have," she said.

That's why Hood founded the African-American Cultural & Genealogical Society of Illinois in 1993. As the group celebrates 25 years connecting people to their roots and honoring legacies, Hood is celebrating a different milestone — one hidden beneath a black cloth in one of museum's exhibits.

"I am so excited," Hood said. "I kept looking for this box for the last two years."

Macon County Sheriff Howard Buffett bought more than 1500 artifacts linked to Rosa Parks before donating the collection to the Library of Congress on a loan. A few pieces of history are now in Decatur, waiting to be unveiled this weekend.

"Now we actually have her artifacts," Hood said. "We're so excited about that because the museum itself feels different."

As for what's hiding underneath the cloth, Hood says that's a secret.

The unveiling follows the museum's Friday night fundraiser. Hood hopes the event will bring in $10,000 to keep the museum thriving and teaching, passing down the stories that need to be told.

"It's important for us so we can know our history and teach it to our children and our children can teach it to their children," Hood said.

The museum's Juneteenth fundraiser starts at 6 p.m. Friday at the Heartland Grand Palace. Tickets are $50 for non-members, $35 for members and $25 for students. To reserve your spot call the museum at (217) 429-7458.

The unveiling of the Parks artifacts will be held on Saturday.

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