Legendary civil rights activist Rosa Parks was honored on Wed. Feb 27 with a statue inside the U.S. Capitol building 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 Alabama on her way home from work. When a white man entered the bus, the driver insisted that Mrs. 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, commonly known as the "Jim Crow" laws. Mrs. Parks appealed her conviction, formally challenging the legality of segregation. At the same time local civil rights activists started a boycott of the Montgomery bus system aided by Martin Luther King Jr. The boycott lasted 381 days until Dec. 1956 when the US 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 2700 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.
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.