Just a few weeks ago, it was announced that Rosa Parks would become the first Black woman to earn a statue on Capitol Hill. Reports confirm that President Barack Obama will now be a part of the historic moment slated to occur Wednesday (Feb. 27).
The POTUS was invited to deliver remarks at the unveiling by House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Despite a lengthy history of clashing over budget issues, Boehner and Reid sent a joint letter to the commander in chief informing him on the event, citing that it would only be right if he attended.
“As you know, most statues in the Capitol are donated by the individual states. This tribute, however, was unanimously authorized by the 109th Congress. Indeed, this is a national statue and this ceremony will be a national moment, an occasion to recount a watershed event in our history and reaffirm our capacity to confront injustice and lift each other up,” wrote the leaders, citing Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala. bus and became the “mother of the civil rights movement.” in 1955.
Just for context, traditionally, each state donates two statues of their promising citizens to National Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol.
President Obama spoke highly of Rosa Parks while honoring the 100th anniversary of her death, saying “Though Rosa Parks was not the first to confront the injustice of segregation laws, her courageous act of civil disobedience sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott—381 days of peaceful protest when ordinary men, women and children sent the extraordinary message that second-class citizenship was unacceptable”
The statue was authorized by Congress after Parks’ death in 2005. The unveiling is scheduled for 11 a.m. next Wednesday.
Photo: Pete Souza