On Sunday (Dec. 1), Rosa Parks was memorialized with a bronze, life-size statue in downtown Montgomery, AL, on the 64th anniversary of the historic day she refused to give up her seat to a white man while on a city bus.
The day also commemorated the second annual Rosa Parks Day in Alabama, which included events honoring the Civil Rights icon throughout the weekend. CNN reports that Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, the city’s first African American mayor, and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey were in attendance of the statue unveiling, which is thought to be located 30 feet from where Parks initially boarded the segregated bus.
“Today, on the second official Rosa Parks Day, we honor a seamstress and a servant, one whose courage ran counter to her physical stature. She was a consummate contributor to equality and did so with a quiet humility that is an example for all of us,” Mayor Reed said. “This depiction will inspire future generations to make the pilgrimage to our city, to push toward the path of righteousness, strength, courage and equality.”
“We are here to be reminded of the struggle so future generations can do better, and be better,” Alabama Gov. Ivey said. “No person ever stood so tall as did Rosa Parks when she sat down.”
On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks was making her way home from work when she refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus for a white man. Her subsequent arrest spurred a 381-day boycott of all Montgomery city buses, led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Known as ‘The First Lady of Civil Rights’ Parks became an iconic catalyst when the boycott led to a Supreme Court ruling that desegregated the Montgomery public transportation system in 1956. However, it wasn't until the 1964 Civil Rights Act that public services were desegregated nationwide.
Parks later went on to work as an administrative assistant to the late US Rep. John Conyers. In 1999, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Parks passed away in 2005 at the age of 92.