Civil Rights Items, Motown Memorabilia Missing From Rosa Parks’ Estate

DETROIT (WWJ) – A Detroit attorney could be ordered to reveal the location of memorabilia from Rosa Parks’ home — or go to jail.

Attorneys in the bankruptcy case of Gregory Reed claim he has over 130 pieces of art, civil rights memorabilia, Motown items and African-American history that disappeared from Parks’ estate.

It’s not a criminal case — yet. But the case is in bankruptcy court. The allegation is that Reed hid memorabilia from Parks’ estate instead of disclosing the items as assets when he filed for his own personal bankruptcy in 2014 to relieve a debt of about $870,000. A bankruptcy trustee is asking a judge to throw Reed in jail until he tells the court where those items are.

Memorabilia allegedly includes a gold key to the city, a manuscript from Malcolm X, slave shackles, autographs and gold records from Motown greats like The Temptations and the Four Tops, and the first contract for the Jackson 5. Some of the valuables were allegedly kept in secret rooms in Reed’s Indian Village home.

Reed, who became Parks’ legal adviser after she was mugged in 1994, tells WWJ he isn’t hiding anything from creditors.

“No, it’s utterly false,” Reed told WWJ’s Charlie Langton. “There’s no items that have been hidden at all, period. And for someone to even make that statement is terribly incorrect.”

Reed doesn’t deny that he has some memorabilia in his possession, but he says that doesn’t mean he has ownership of the items.

“I have items but not the items that they’re speaking of. Those items belong to a third-party, various parties from Motown era, and they have records of that,” he said. “They are not my assets, period.”

A hearing is being held Tuesday.

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