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Alabama observes Rosa Parks Day

Stan Ingold

Today marks a moment in Alabama civil rights history. It was on this date in 1955 when Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus to a white man. The state observes today as Rosa Parks day. The civil rights icon received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton in 1996. The U.S. Postal  Service honored Parks with a stamp on what would have been her one 100th birthday.

The city of Montgomery is also home to the Rosa Parks Museum. Assistant director Donna Beisel says Parks made the Civil Rights Movement possible.            

“She is known now as the mother of them modern civil rights movement and that is also why she is important, but she was really the catalyst that started, not only the Montgomery Bus Boycott, but the civil rights movement as a whole. She was not the first one to get involved with it, but because of her and her actions it really turned into what we now know it as,” she said.

Beisel said there are normally big events to mark Rosa Parks Day. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the museum to scale back today’s observance. Parks was also an activist for social, labor, and gender issues long before her famous arrest.

Beisel said there was far more to Rosa Parks than just activism.

“She was very involved in the fight for equality throughout her whole life and I think often that has been overlooked and so that’s really the main reason that we needed a Rosa Parks’ day just like a Dr. King day or you know some of the others," she said.

Beisel said they will not be having the customary singing, dancing, and speaking on a large scale this year due to the coronavirus.

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