Today in history: Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up seat on a public bus

Posted at 2:20 PM, Dec 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-01 16:31:23-05

(CNN) — Rosa Parks was honored with a new statue in downtown Montgomery, Alabama, on Sunday, 64 years to the day she was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a city bus.

Sunday marks the second annual Rosa Parks Day in Alabama, after the state legislature approved the day honoring the civil rights icon last year.

Events were slated to take place throughout the city of Montgomery this weekend, including the dedication of a statue of Parks on Sunday afternoon.

“Today, on the second official Rosa Parks Day, we honor a seamstress and a servant, one whose courage ran counter to her physical stature,” said Mayor Steven Reed, the city’s first African American mayor. “She was a consummate contributor to equality and did so with a quiet humility that is an example for all of us.”

“No person ever stood so tall,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said, “as did Rosa Parks when she sat down.”

Parks was on her way home from work on December 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on a public bus for a white man.

Her subsequent arrest prompted the 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system, organized by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

A later ruling by the Supreme Court desegregated public transportation in Montgomery, but it wasn’t until the 1964 Civil Rights Act that all public accommodations were desegregated nationwide.

Parks’ small act of defiance made Parks a major symbol of the civil rights movement. She went on to work as administrative assistant to thelate US Rep. John Conyers, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. In June 1999, she was presented the Congressional Gold Medal.

She died in 2005 at the age of 92.