Parks with Dr. King in the background.
by Frederick H. Lowe, (The NorthStar News & Analysis)
U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D.-N.Y., announced on Monday during President Barack Obama’s and Vice President Joseph Biden’s Inaugural Luncheon that a statue of the civil-rights icon Rosa Parks will be added to the National Statuary Hall, where the luncheon took place at the U.S. Capitol, before the end of the year.
Parks will be the first African-American woman to have her likeness depicted in the hall, said Schumer, who also was in charge of organizing President Obama’s and Vice President Biden’s inauguration. Schumer is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and in that position, he oversees the Capitol’s artwork.
Parks made history when police arrested her on Dec. 1,1955, for refusing to relinquish her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Ala., bus.
E. D. Nixon, one of the unsung heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, and Clifford Durr, a white attorney, bailed Parks out of jail.
|Jo Ann Gibson Robinson under arrest|
On Dec. 2, 1955, Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, an English teacher at Alabama State University and head of the Women’s Political Council, and others began organizing a boycott of the bus line, which was owned by a Chicago company, according to the book The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It: The Memoir of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson.
With Parks’ permission, Robinson mimeographed 35,000 handbills that called for a boycott of the Montgomery bus system. Three days later, Robinson launched a one-day bus boycott.
After the success of the one-day boycott, black citizens decided to continue either walking or riding in carpools. They also established the Montgomery Improvement Association to focus on the boycott.
The Montgomery Improvement Association elected the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., president, thrusting him into the national spotlight, according to the book The Thunder of Angels: The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the People Who Broke the Back of Jim Crow.
The boycott ended Dec. 21, 1956, after the bus company and Montgomery officials agreed to allow passengers to sit in any vacant seat.
The National Statuary Hall Collection displays statues donated by individual states to honor notable persons in history. On Dec. 1, 2005, Congress directed the Joint Committee on the Library to obtain a statute of Rosa Parks. She died on Oct. 24, 2005.
At one time, Statuary Hall served as the seat of the U.S. Congress.