Rosa Parks — the woman who refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus and thus became a catalyst for powerful social change in America — is being honored with a statue in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.
The dedication is today.
Parks, who would have turned 100 years old this past February 5, will also have the honor of being the first black woman to be immortalized among the Capitol statuary. Upon her death in 2005, she was laid out in honor in the Capitol — a testament of her lasting contribution to the civil rights movement.
The statue of Parks was authorized by a 2005 act of Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush.
Rosa Parks is the epitome of a heroine in the fact that she was a lady of uncompromised principle.
It was her unwavering commitment to constitutional principles of individual freedom that inspired her to rebel against the unfair Jim Crow laws if the South.
Her understanding of the unalienable rights that are bestowed upon all Americans was the cornerstone of a faith that compelled her to risk her very life for the betterment of all who were similarly situated.
Rosa Parks cannot be defined solely by her bold refusal to sit at the back of the bus in Birmingham in 1955. That moment, although forever crystalized as one of the key moments in the history of the civil rights movement, is but a small expression of her contributions to our great republic.
Ironically, however, it is that single moment that she is often limited to by most Americans and not the entirety of her motivation. Consequently, we too often fail to understand the principles and values which compelled Rosa Parks to resist tyranny.
Too many black American today fail to juxtapose the principles and values she exhibited with current personal and social practices. Thus, we have too often done her sacrifices a grave disservice.
The best way to honor Rosa Parks cannot be just hoisting a statue in her honor, though she is more than worthy of such a thing. The best way to show our appreciation for her sacrifices is to embrace her commitment to the principles of limited government and individual liberty. Moreover, to defend with all of our being the unalienable rights of every American citizen without consideration of cultural identity or economic status.
Thank you, Rosa Parks, for leaving us a legacy of love for God, country and family.
top photo credit: iStockphoto