Fourteen years after her death, civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks is going to be remembered forever as a new statue of her was erected in downtown Montgomery, Alabama, just a few feet away from where she boarded the city bus.
On Sunday, Dec. 1, exactly 64 years after Parks was arrested for defying the law and refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger, city officials in the state unveiled a life-size bronze statue of her standing firm in a long coat with her hands clutching her purse.
“To stand here today as Montgomery’s mayor where Mrs. Rosa Parks stood defiant against systemic injustice infecting our community and our country speaks to the magnitude of this moment and the progress achieved in our city,” Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said in a statement on Sunday. “This progress, coupled with the dawn of a new era of reconciliation and revitalization, underscores Montgomery’s status as the Birthplace of Civil Rights and a light unto the world.”
“This statue has been a long time coming and Mrs. Rosa Parks is more than deserving as she represents all of the many foot soldiers who sacrificed their lives and families to make a change,” said Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean on Sunday. “This is a great day for Montgomery County. The seeds she planted are ever continuing to be harvested.”
Parks’s arrest on Dec. 1, 1955, was the major reason the civil liberties movement started in America. The demonstration called Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was organized by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., led to the desegregation of public transportation in the city and played an important role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which integrated public spaces nationwide.
Sunday also marked the second-annual Rosa Parks Day in Alabama. City officials held several events throughout Montgomery to honor the civil rights icon over the weekend, according to ABC News.
Parks died in 2005 at the age of 92.