A new statue of the pioneering civil rights leader Rosa Parks has recently been dedicated in the state of Alabama’s capital city marking the 64th anniversary of her refusal to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man.
The ceremony included Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed and Gov. Kay Ivey who pulled back a cloth as they unveiled the statue while 400 spectators looked on.
The ceremony coincided with the anniversary of Parks’ arrest on Dec. 1, 1955 — an event which sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott — a pivotal moment in the modern-day civil rights movement.
Reed, who recently became the first Black mayor of the City, said he hopes the statue will inspire generations of the future.
“This will make the pilgrimage to our city I believe and push generations of the future toward the path of righteousness, strength, courage and equality,” he said.
Four granite markers near the statue honor plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle — the court case that determined segregation on Montgomery buses to be unconstitutional. One of those plaintiffs, Mary Louise Smith, attended the Sunday ceremony.
Parks died in 2005 at the age of 92.
Also attending the ceremony was Fred Gray, the attorney who defended Parks and the other plaintiffs.
Her shared his feelings with The Montgomery Advertiser.
“To be able to honor Mrs. Parks and those plaintiffs, and even more importantly to honor the 40,000 African-American men and women who stayed off the buses for 382 days, is indeed a step in the right direction,” he said.