Dress sewn by Rosa Parks

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This dress (a) is a wrap style made from a plain weave viscose fabric with a printed design of dark brown and yellow flowers and leaves. The wrap effect is achieved by crossing the front bodice at the waist seam and gathered fabric on the proper left side of the waist. The skirt is flaired with six (6) gores and three pleats in the skirt at the center front add further to the wrap effect. The set-in full length sleeves are gathered at a 1 1/4" cuff that closes with two metal snaps. The dress has a small shawl collar and a v-neck. The dress closes at the proper left side waist with a zipper. It is unlined, and the seams are pressed open with raw edges exposed. It is machine-sewn except for the hem, which is turned up 2 inches and hand stitched. There are two belt loops made of a thin yellow braid, one at each side seam, which hold the accompanying belt (b) in place.
The belt (b) is made from the same fashion fabric as the dress, with a plain weave beige fabric backing. The front and back of the belt are machine stitched around the edge, and a layer of interfacing beteen them provides some stiffening. The belt has an oval-shaped metal single-prong buckle covered in the dark brown and yellow floral fabric, and five (5) white grommets on the opposite end of the belt for an adjustable closure.
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National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Collection title
Black Fashion Museum Collection
Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom: The Era of Segregation, 1876-1968
On View
NMAAHC (1400 Constitution Ave NW), National Mall Location, Concourse 2, C 2053
1955 - 1956
Object number
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of the Black Fashion Museum founded by Lois K. Alexander-Lane
Created by
Rosa Parks, American, 1913 - 2005
Subject of
Black Fashion Museum, American, 1979 - 2007
African American
American South
Civil Rights
Clothing and dress
United States--History--1953-1961
Urban life
Place made
Montgomery, Alabama, United States, North and Central America
synthetic fiber and metal
H x W x D: 47 1/2 × 16 3/4 × 1 1/4 in. (120.7 × 42.5 × 3.2 cm)
Chest: 40 in. (101.6 cm)
Waist: 28 1/4 in. (71.8 cm)
Hem circumference: 78 in. (198.1 cm)
Belt: 2 3/4 × 33 1/4 × 3/8 in. (7 × 84.5 × 1 cm)
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions