Parks, who refused to give up her bus seat for a White man, made history in 1955. Last weekend, her hometown honored her contributions to the civil rights movement.
In downtown Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks, and her legacy live on in the form of a statue. The statue, a fitting tribute, was erected and unveiled to the public on Sunday, December 1, in honor of the second annual Rosa Parks Day in the state. Last Sunday marks 64 years to the day she was arrested by police officials for refusing to move to the back of a city bus when racial segregation was practiced in the United States. Events took place throughout the weekend in her honor, with many locals in attendance, CNN reports.
As the city's first African American Mayor, Mayor Steven Reed had the privilege of being one of the individuals to unveil the statue last weekend. "Today, on the second official Rosa Parks Day, we honor a seamstress and a servant, one whose courage ran counter to her physical stature," he affirmed in a moving speech about the activist. "She was a consummate contributor to equality and did so with a quiet humility that is an example for all of us." Rosa Parks day was instituted by the Alabama Legislature last year as a way to honor her landmark move of defiance. Governor Kay Ivey added, "No person ever stood so tall as did Rosa Parks when she sat down."
In 1955, Parks energized the civil rights movement when returning home from work and seated on a public bus in the front when Blacks were legally required to sit in the back, refused to give up her place after a White man asked her to. She was subsequently arrested for her simple act of defiance, prompting a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system, organized by none other than civil rights activist Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. A Supreme Court ruling later desegregated this very bus system. However, it was only years later, when the 1964 Civil Rights Act was enacted, that all public accommodations across the United States were desegregated.
Parks soon went on to become a major symbol of the civil rights movement. She even worked as an administrative assistant to the late United States Representative John Conyers, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. In addition to this, she was presented the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999. Sadly, we lost an icon in 2005, when she passed away at the age of 92. Nonetheless, her legacy will always be remembered and honored in her hometown of Montgomery.