GWEN IFILL: Finally tonight, remembering the civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
In 1955, she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger in segregated Montgomery, Ala. Her arrest spurred a bus boycott that stretched over a year. A bronze statue of Parks was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall today, a short distance from the Rotunda, where she became the first woman, and only second African-American, to lie in repose after she died in 2005.
She was honored by, among others, President Obama, Congressman James Clyburn, and House Speaker John Boehner in today’s ceremony.
REP. JAMES CLYBURN, D-S.C.: Rosa Parks, the first lady of civil rights, the mother of the movement, the saint of an endless struggle.
However one wished to refer to her, this statue forever ordains Rosa Parks’ status as an icon of our nation’s struggles to live out its declaration that we are all created equal.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-Ohio: This statue speaks for itself, and today we speak for a nation committed to remembering and, more importantly, emulating Rosa Parks. So we place her here, here in the chamber where many fought to prevent a day like this and right in the gaze of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: 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. 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.
GWEN IFILL: Those remarks were part of a ceremony unveiling a statue of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks at the U.S. Capitol.