Historical Highlights

The Honoring of Civil Rights Icon Rosa Parks

October 30, 2005–October 31, 2005
The Honoring of Civil Rights Icon Rosa Parks Image courtesy of the United States Mint In the 106th Congress (1999-2001), the U.S. Congress awarded civil rights icon Rosa Parks the Congressional Gold Medal.
On these dates, civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks was honored in the U.S. Capitol. In 1955, Parks, an African-American seamstress, galvanized the U.S. civil rights movement by performing an act of civil disobedience in refusing to yield her seat to a white man and move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Shortly after her death, she became the first woman and the second black American to lie in honor in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. With bipartisan support, the resolution to honor the civil rights icon passed easily. Public viewings of the casket were held on October 30th and 31st. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams, Members of the House and Senate, and the Parks family attended an October 31st memorial. Reminiscing about her life, Parks once remarked, “I am leaving this legacy to all of you . . . to bring peace, justice, equality, love and a fulfillment of what our lives should be. Without vision, the people will perish, and without courage and inspiration, dreams will die—the dream of freedom and peace.”

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