Rosa Parks Statue Unveiled at Capitol

President Obama, standing at a podium near the statue of Parks, which depicts her seated with her purse on her lap, as in the iconic photo of her on a bus: This morning, we celebrate a seamstress, slight in stature but mighty in courage. She defied the odds, and she defied injustice. She lived a life of activism, but also a life of dignity and grace. And in a single moment, with the simplest of gestures, she helped change America and change the world.

Rosa Parks held no elected office [camera zooms in on statue]; she possessed no fortune; lived her life far from the formal seats of power. And yet today she takes her rightful place among those who've shaped this nation's course. I thank all those persons—in particular, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, both past and present, for making this moment possible.

[applause; edit]

Rosa Parks would not be pushed. When the driver got up from his seat to insist that she give up hers, she would not be pushed. When he threatened to have her arrested, she simply replied, "You may do that." And he did.

A few days later, Rosa Parks challenged her arrest. A little-known pastor, new to town and only 26 years old, stood with her—a man named Martin Luther King, Jr. So did thousands of Montgomery, Alabama, commuters. They began a boycott. [edit] Three hundred and eighty-five days after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, the boycott ended. Black men and women and children reboarded the buses of Montgomery, newly desegregated, and sat in whatever seat happened to be open.

That is only a portion of Obama's address at the dedication of the statue. The Hill has an article on it which quotes another piece that I really like: "We make excuses for inaction, and we say to ourselves, that's not my responsibility, there's nothing I can do. Rosa Parks tells us there's always something we can do."

And all the high fives in the world to Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) who noted in a statement: "How ironic that on the same day we honor Mrs. Parks in our nation's Capital, right across the street the United States Supreme Court hears arguments on whether or not Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is still relevant and necessary. This is the very core of the cause to which Mrs. Parks devoted her life and it is once again being questioned."

Right on.

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