Sunday marked exactly 64 years since Rosa Parks sparked a movement by refusing to yield her seat for a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. That small act of defiance netted her an arrest and a place in history as one of the early civil rights era heroes, and in posthumous honor of her trailblazing bravery, the city of Montgomery has installed a statue of her in its downtown.
CNN reports that the statue was unveiled Sunday as part of Alabama’s second official Rosa Parks Day, a weekend-long celebration of Parks’s life and contribution to the civil rights movement. Mayor Steven Reed, Montgomery’s first black mayor, spoke at the dedication ceremony, alongside Alabama governor Kay Ivey.
“Today, on the second official Rosa Parks Day, we honor a seamstress and a servant, one whose courage ran counter to her physical stature,” Reed said. “She was a consummate contributor to equality and did so with a quiet humility that is an example for all of us.”
The statue is just a few feet from where Parks was arrested in 1955, prompting a citywide 381-day bus boycott.
The Montgomery Advertiser reports that the city also presented historic markers for the four women plaintiffs involved in the landmark Browder v. Gayle case in 1956, which ultimately called for the desegregation of the public transit system. Mary Louise Smith, one of the plaintiffs honored, was at the dedication ceremony on Sunday, as was Fred Gray, who represented the plaintiffs.