A Rosa Parks statue was unveiled at the US Capitol on Wednesday. The statue came more than 50 years after Parks’ defiant stand on a city bus in 1955.
President Barack Obama lead the ceremony, along with congressional leaders and more than 50 of Parks’ relatives.
The Rosa Parks statue will reside at its home in Statuary Hall, reports NBC News. Parks is depicted in the nine-foot bronze statue sitting down with her hands folded across her lap.
The 42-year-old seamstress broke the law on December 1, 1955 when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a packed bus in Montgomery.
Parks’ arrest was the catalyst of change in Montgomery, Alabama. A 381-day boycott of the bus system that resulted in the Supreme Court’s banning of segregation on public transportation in 1956.
Rosa Parks passed away in October 2005 at the age of 92. President George W. Bush directed Congress to commission the Rosa Parks statue just one month later.
The Detroit Free Press notes that the Rosa Parks statue is the first full-size statue of a black woman to be in the Capitol collection. In his remarks on Wednesday, President Obama stated:
“She defied the odds, she defied injustice. She helped change America and helped change the world.”
Parks was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999. But the honor in Statuary Hall is different. Rhea McCauley, one of Parks’ nieces, explained:
“The medal, you could take it, put it on a mantel. But her being in the hall itself is permanent.”
The Statuary Hall collection includes 100 statues in five different locations inside the Capitol building. Rosa Parks’ new statue is inside Statuary Hall itself along with William Jennings Bryan, Daniel Webster, and Jefferson Davis (president of the Confederacy).