WASHINGTON — Lawmakers unveiled Tuesday a statue of civil rights legend Rosa Parks that will stand in National Statuary Hall.
Rosa Parks is famous for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on an Alabama public bus in 1955. She died in 2005 and became the first woman to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.
“We celebrate a seamstress slight in stature but mighty in courage,” President Barack Obama said. “She defied the odds. She defied injustice. In a single moment, with the simplest of gestures, she helped change America and change the world.”
Obama was joined by House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, members of the Parks family and other top officials.
“May this statue long be at tribute to her strength and spirit, her legacy and her leadership,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said.
Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., a civil rights leader, said the rights Parks fought for could be rolled back, referring to the Supreme Court case being heard today that could invalidate parts of the Voting Rights Act.
Parks was a symbol of the civil rights movement that reached its climax in the 1960s, when she collaborated with the NAACP and other famous figures like Martin Luther King Jr.