President Obama unveiled the full-length statue of Rosa Parks on Capitol Hill, earlier today. House Speaker John Boehner joined the commander in chief to reveal the statue in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.
Parks has become first Black woman to receive the honor.
From the Associated Press:
A bust of another black woman, abolitionist Sojourner Truth, sits in the Capitol Visitors Center.
Obama said that with the installation of the statue, Parks, who died in 2005, has taken her rightful place among those who have shaped the course of U.S. history. He said her presence in Capitol would serve to “remind us no matter how humble or lofty our positions, just what it is that leadership requires.”
The several hundred lawmakers, family and congressional staff who gathered for the ceremony in the vaulted hall rose to their feet and whooped as Boehner opened the ceremony.
The statue shows Parks sitting down with her purse on her lap, and was a perfect depiction of the Alabama native, according to the president. “Rosa Parks’ singular act of disobedience launched a movement,” he explained, referencing the then 42-year-old’s refusal to give up her seat to a White man, back in 1955. Parks was arrested, sparking a boycott of the bus system, and led to the Supreme Court banning segregation on public transportation in 1956.
“We do well placing a statue of her here, but we can do no greater honor to her memory than to carry forward the power of her principle and a courage born of conviction,” Obama added.
Parks’ statue comes just after the U.S. Postal Service honored her memory with a stamp, revealed on Feb. 4, which would’ve been her 100th birthday.
View photos from the ceremony below.
Photos: AP/Reuters/Kevin Lamarque