Refusing to be humiliated, the late Rosa Parks became one of the most revered civil rights heroes in the U.S.. To honor her on her 100th birthday on Feb. 4 the U.S. postal service has issued the 'Rosa Parks Forever' stamp.
A ceremonial issuing of the stamp took place in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., part of a 12 hour celebration of Parks on her birthday. In 1955 in Montgomery, Ala. she refused to move to the back of a bus because of her skin color, launching a civil rights movement that reverberates to this day.
The very bus she sat in is now a part of the museum and was but feet from the many officials on hand with members of the public to honor Parks. Those officials included Deputy Postmaster Elaine Steele, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich, the civil rights leader Julian Bond, Parks biographer Douglas Brinkley and Patricia Mooradian, the president of The Henry Ford Museum.. The stamp bears a likeness of Rosa Parks from the 1950s.
Rosa Parks and Civil Rights Movement
On Dec. 1, 1955. Parks was on her way home from work and was tired. She said later that she spontaneously decided that she was not going to move to the back of the bus for a white person; such a refusal from a black person was unheard of at the time, and against the law. The driver told her what would happen but she stayed seated and he summoned the police.
The then 42-year-old was arrested and spent a night in jail, a fate she accepted because she'd "had enough of the humiliation." Her actions spawned a movement that included a 381 day boycott of the Montgomery bus system which lead to the segregation law being rescinded. Her decision lives as an example of the heights of dignity that a human can climb to.
Parks spent the later years of her life living in Michigan and working in the office of Rep. Conyers, who, along with Sen. Levin, unveiled the stamp. Rosa Parks died in 2005.