Rosa Parks Honored in Capitol

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By C.N. Staff Writer

Rosa ParksConsidered a pioneer during the civil rights era, the legacy of Rosa Parks continues to live on.  On February 27, 2013 a bronze statue of her was unveiled in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.  Parks becomes the first African-American woman to be honored with a full body statue in the hall, which also holds statues of past presidents, congressional leaders and military leaders.

On December 1, 1955 Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, igniting the massive bus boycotts in demand of equal treatment for blacks riding the transit system.  President Barack Obama said that, “singular act of disobedience launched a movement.”   A host of congressional and senate leaders including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) joined the president.

Fifty-eight years after she refused to give up her seat she is honored with more than 50 of her family members in attendance.  The statue shows her sitting with her arms folded, reminiscent of her arrest back in 1955.  Thereafter she became a prominent symbol of what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for, non-violence action against inequality.

Congressman James Clyburn (D-S.C.) attended the ceremony and spoke about Parks’ legacy.  “To honor Rosa Parks in the fullest manner, each of us must do our part to protect that which has been gained, defend the great documents upon which those gains were obtained and continue our pursuit of a more perfect union.”

The National Statuary Hall Collection consists of two sculptures gifted from each of the 50 states. They honor distinguished people throughout U.S. history, including several presidents.  Parks’ statue was authorized by a special act of Congress that was introduced two days after her death in 2005.

Parks died Oct. 24, 2005, at age 92. The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp in her honor on Feb. 4, which would have been her 100th birthday.

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