Rosa Parks Statue Unveiled In Montgomery, Commemorating 64th Anniversary Of Bus Arrest
Civil rights icon Rosa Parks was honored with a commemorative statue in Montgomery, Alabama, on Sunday, marking the 64th anniversary of her refusal to give up her seat to a white patron on a segregated local bus route.
The statue dedication marked the end of the second annual Rosa Parks Day, which passed in the statehouse last year, CNN reports. It currently stands 30 feet away from where she was believed to refuse her seat.
“Today, on the second official Rosa Parks Day, we honor a seamstress and a servant, one whose courage ran counter to her physical stature,” said Mayor Steven Reed during the dedication. Reed is the city’s first African-American mayor and was elected in October. “She was a consummate contributor to equality and did so with a quiet humility that is an example for all of us.”
Parks’ action sparked the Montgomery Bus boycott, a protest which lasted for 381 days and was organized by civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Parks may be known for her bus arrest but prior to, she was heavily involved in activist work. In 1943 she joined the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, serving as secretary to NAACP President E.D. Nixon until 1957, as well as the chapter’s youth leader.
Parks and her husband relocated to Detroit, Michigan, after several city and local officials worked to disenfranchise the Parks family. Rosa lost her job at a local department store and her husband was fired after being censured from discussing his wife’s legal matters at work.
In Detroit, she later became a receptionist in the office for congressman John Conyers and served on the board of Planned Parenthood. Parks continued devoting her time to the youth by founding the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development. She also wrote two books detailing her life and activism work, Rosa Parks: My Story, and Quiet Strength.
Her accolades include the Martin Luther King Jr. Award by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
Parks died in 2005 at the age of 92 from progressive dementia. She was the third private citizen to lie in state under the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C