Rosa Parks Statue Dedication in U.S. Capitol (photos)

President Barack Obama and congressional leaders unveiled a full-length statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks in the Capitol (all photos by Jeff Malet)
Jeff Malet
President Barack Obama and congressional leaders unveiled a full-length statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks in the Capitol (all photos by Jeff Malet)

Legendary civil rights activist Rosa Parks was honored Feb 27 with a statue inside the U.S. Capitol with a dedication ceremony attended by President Barack Obama and other notables.

On December 1, 1955, a 42-year-old African-American seamstress named Rosa Parks boarded a bus in Montgomery, Ala., on her way home from work. When a white man entered the bus, the driver insisted that Parks give up her seat so that the man could sit. She refused and was arrested and convicted for violating the rules of segregation common throughout the South at that time, known as the "Jim Crow" laws. Parks appealed her conviction, formally challenging the legality of segregation. At the same time, local civil rights activists, aided by Martin Luther King, Jr., started a boycott of the Montgomery bus system The boycott lasted 381 days until December 1956 when the Supreme Court ruled segregation illegal, and Montgomery buses were integrated. The Rosa Parks incident in a profound way marked the beginning of the non-violent protest movement in support of civil rights in the United States.

The 2,700-pound bronze statue of Parks now stands in Statuary Hall between those of suffragist Frances E. Willard and refrigeration and air conditioning pioneer John Gorrie. Rosa Parks thus becomes the first black woman to be honored in the Capitol with a full-length statue.

Parks died in 2005 at the age of 92. She herself had no children but the event was attended by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins plus various dignitaries and civil rights activists.

View our photos of the dedication ceremony by clicking on the photo icons below.

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Fri, 31 Oct 2014 20:26:14 -0400

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