Rosa Parks statue unveiled in Montgomery’s Court Square
MONTGOMERY — Not far from where enslaved African-Americans were purchased, where first Confederate States Secretary of War LeRoy Pope Walker issued the order to attack Fort Sumter in 1861 and where Rosa Parks was awaiting the Cleveland Avenue bus before she would make history on December 1, 1955, a few hundred people attended the unveiling of a new statue of Parks on Sunday.
It was shortly after that moment on December 1, 1955, that Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat to a white man on a city bus, and that initiated the Montgomery Bus Boycott that would challenge the institution of segregation.
Participating in the statue’s unveiling were Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean and Gov. Kay Ivey.
Watch: Montgomery Mayor @stevenlouisreed, @GovernorKayIvey, Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean, others unveil new Rosa Parks statue in Court Square #alpolitics pic.twitter.com/dOCZebLMpS
— Jeff Poor (@jeff_poor) December 1, 2019
“Rosa Parks is the face to injustice,” Ivey said. “Many people were able to come to understand her hurt and the need for cultural change when they heard her story. It was only fitting that we should establish a monument to her in the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement. Also, as one of Alabama’s female leaders, it is very fitting that we honor and remember Rosa Parks here in Montgomery, Alabama. There are people who say that folks who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
“That’s what today is all about,” she continued. “We’re here to be reminded of the struggle so future generations can be better and do better. No person ever stood so tall as did Rosa Parks when she sat down. And Rosa herself said one day she didn’t give up her seat on the bus because she was tired but rather because she was tired of giving in. We all should take a page from her book, and when we see injustice, we should find the courage to not give in.”
Reed, who had just recently taken the oath of office to be Montgomery’s first African-American mayor, reflected on Parks’ achievements and said the unveiling should serve as a reminder that there was still work to be done today.
“While we are here to commemorate an action that Mrs. Parks took, it was not a lone action,” Reed said. “She was taking a fight for fairness and justice with the decision that she made, one that would have made her a viral sensation today or a social media soldier, she shook the conscience of this seat and ultimately helped improve the soul of this country.”
Included among the attendees was Fred Gray, the attorney who represented Parks and the plaintiffs in the Browder v. Gayle case that would result in bus segregation being declared unconstitutional.