Sunday 15 December 2019

New statue unveiled in honour of US civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks

Her refusal to give up her seat to a white man in 1955 was a pivotal moment and sparked a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.

A statue of Rosa Parks (Mickey Welsh/AP)
A statue of Rosa Parks (Mickey Welsh/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

A new statue of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks was dedicated in Alabama’s capital city on Sunday, the 64th anniversary of her historic refusal to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man.

Montgomery mayor Steven Reed and Alabama governor Kay Ivey pulled back a cloth to unveil the statue before a crowd of about 400 spectators.

The ceremony coincided with the anniversary of Ms Parks’ December 1955 arrest that sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a pivotal part of the civil rights movement.

ipanews_d5f48f05-1660-43c9-bfc2-e4d5f16c79c8_embedded248730047
Mary Louise Smith, a plaintiff in the Browder vs. Gayle case that desegregated buses in Montgomery, stands beside the Rosa Parks statue (Mickey Welsh/AP)

“This depiction will inspire future generations to make the pilgrimage to our city, to push toward the path of righteousness, strength, courage and equality,” Mr Reed, who recently became the first African American mayor of Montgomery, said at the ceremony, according to al.com.

Four granite markers near the statue honour plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, the court case that determined segregation on Montgomery buses was unconstitutional.

One of the plaintiffs, Mary Louise Smith, took part in the ceremony on Sunday.

ipanews_d5f48f05-1660-43c9-bfc2-e4d5f16c79c8_embedded248695617
File photo of Rosa Parks (Khue Bui/AP)

Rosa Parks was 92 when she died in 2005.

Fred Gray, the lawyer who defended Ms Parks, the Browder v. Gayle plaintiffs and many other civil rights activists, sat in the second row at the unveiling.

“For the city officials, from the city and the county, to be able to honour Mrs Parks and honour those plaintiffs, and even more importantly to honour the 40,000 African American men and women who stayed off of the buses for 382 days, it is indeed a step in the right direction,” Mr Gray told the Montgomery Advertiser.

PA Media

Editors Choice

Also in World News