WASHINGTON (WWJ/AP) – President Barack Obama says civil rights icon Rosa Parks has taken her rightful place among those who have shaped the course of U.S. history.
Obama and House Speaker John Boehner unveiled the 9-foot bronze statue of Parks in a ceremony at the Capitol. Parks becomes the first black woman to be honored with a full-length statue in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.
“Rosa Parks tell us there’s always something we can do. She tells us that we all have responsibilities, to ourselves and to one another,” Obama said. “She reminds us that this is how change happens — not mainly through the exploits of the famous and the powerful, but through the countless acts of often anonymous courage and kindness and fellow feeling and responsibility that continually, stubbornly, expand our conception of justice — our conception of what is possible.”
Also among those to speak at Wednesday’s event was Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina called Parks the first lady of civil rights and the saint of an endless struggle. “This statue forever ordains Rosa Parks’ status as an icon of our nation’s struggles to live out its declaration that we are all created equal,” Clyburn said.
Rosa Parks would have been 100 years old this year. She died in 2005. She and her husband Raymond moved to Detroit two years after her 1955 arrest for refusing to give her seat on an Alabama bus to a white man. Legislation to commission the statue was sponsored by Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow.
A bust of another black woman, abolitionist Sojourner Truth, sits in the Capitol Visitors Center.
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