Rosa Parks statue unveiled in Montgomery on the anniversary of arrest

Chevaz Clarke

A new statue was dedicated to civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks in Alabama's capital of Montgomery on Sunday. The bronze monument was unveiled on the 64th anniversary of one of the key moments in the civil rights movement.

On December 1, 1955, Parks was arrested after refusing to give up her seat on a public bus for a white man. Her defiance led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, spearheaded by Martin Luther King, Jr., and later the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that segregation on public buses was unconstitutional as it violated the 14th Amendment.

In June 1999, Parks was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress' highest civilian honor, for her courage and pivotal role in the history of the civil rights movement.

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Mayor Steven Reed unveils a statue of Rosa Parks in downtown Montgomery Sunday, December 1. City of Montgomery

Montgomery mayor Steven Reed and Governor Kay Ivey attended the unveiling ceremony of the life-size statue and four historic markers which honor the plaintiffs in the landmark Browder v. Gayle case.

"I hope its presence will remind us of the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement & ensure that future generations will be better & do better," tweeted Governor Ivey.

On the 64th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, we honor Rosa Parks by dedicating this statue in her name. I hope its presence will remind us of the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement & ensure that future generations will be better & do better. #AL200 #AL200Countdown pic.twitter.com/KU65BiI5Vv

— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) December 1, 2019

"Today we honor Mrs. Rosa Parks act of courage and defiance some 64 years ago," Mayor Reed wrote. "Her moment born out of faith was a pilot light for a movement that would overcome fear."

Reed made history earlier this year when he was sworn in as the first African-American mayor of Montgomery, which was the first capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War.  The day before his swearing-in, Reed took CBS News on a tour through the city's history. "Protesting and change has always, I think, been in the DNA of people here," he said.

Parks died in 2005 at the age of 92.

Rosa Parks honored with statue in Montgomery, Alabama

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