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Rosa Parks' Legacy Grows

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Washington D.C. She's known as the "Mother of the Civil Rights" movement. In 1955 she refused to give up her seat to a White man on the Montgomery, Alabama bus. She was arrested and what ensued was a year-long bus boycott in the city. That was a major spark for the civil rights movement.

Parks recently had a statue in her likeness unveiled in the United Sates Capitol's Statuary Hall. The statue is nine feet tall. Parks is seated, wearing a hat and clutching her trademark purse. She is the first Black woman to have a full-length statue in the building-Sojourner Truth the abolitionist also has a bust in the facility.

Washington was not new to Parks. For 20 years she worked as an aide to Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.). When she passed away in 2005 she became the first woman and the second Black person to have a casket viewed in the Capitol Rotunda.

Slain U.S. Capitol police officer Jacob Joseph was the first African American so honored. The Statue was sculpted by Eugene Daub and co-designed by Rob Firmin. It was the first statue to be paid for and commissioned by Congress since 1873.

She takes her place among congressmen, governors, and presidents. "Here in the hall, she casts an unlikely silhouette — unassuming in a lineup of proud stares, challenging all of us once more to look up and to draw strength from stillness," said Boehner, R-Ohio.

While Parks and her husband, Raymond, never had a child, her brother, the late Sylvester McCauley, had 13 children. They decided Parks' nieces and nephews didn't need to know the horrible details surrounding her civil rights activism, said Rhea McCauley, Parks' niece.

"They didn't talk about the lynchings and the Jim Crow laws," said McCauley, 61, of Orlando, Fla. "They didn't talk about that stuff to us kids. Everyone wanted to forget about it and sweep it under the rug."

This year is the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. We have come long way as a nation." She's the saint of an endless struggle this statue forever ordains Rosa Parks status as an Icon to live out our declaration that we are all created equal," said Assistant Democratic House leader James Clyburn.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi read an exerpt of a letter from baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays who is from Alabama it read: "Most times change does not happen fast-most times it happens bit little by little -Rosa Parks did what was natural. She was tired so she sat down when she did that that sparked outrage and that outrage spread. We will try to remember to encourage change when it serves best. Today we will remember and we will honor."

Parks defiant moment inspired others to sit-in that all paved the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - The Voting Rights Act of 1965. Then the Election of eventual election of an African American President.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Parks had "moved the world when she refused to move her seat.

More than a thousand attended including 70 of Parks' relatives traveled to Washington for the ceremony. Parks Niece Sheila Keys assisted in the unveiling.

“She was a true Freedom Fighter,” said Rev. Jessie Jackson. “She gave it her all. She passed the voting rights test all three times she never failed that test.” The test was given to minorities as a deterrent to vote.

“Rosa Parks tells us that there’s always something we can do,” said President Obama. She tells us that we all have responsibilities to ourselves and to one another.”

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+1 # Terita Hicks 2013-05-31 10:12
We so much want to sweep the unthinkable under the rug. It is just do much easier to go along with the status quo. Thank you Rosa Parks for standing up for your God given right to live as a human being.

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