President Barack Obama celebrated the courage of civil rights icon Rosa Parks on Tuesday, sixty years after her momentous refusal to move from her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
“Like so many giants of her age, Rosa Parks is no longer with us. But her lifetime of activism – and her singular moment of courage – continue to inspire us today,” Obama said. “Refusing to give up a seat on a segregated bus was the simplest of gestures, but her grace, dignity, and refusal to tolerate injustice helped spark a Civil Rights Movement that spread across America. ”
Rosa Parks died in 2005 at the age of 92 after a lifetime of committing herself to the movement for civil and social justice in the United States. She was a secretary for the NAACP in the 1940s and championed causes like voter registration,school desegregation and the fight against sexual violence. A intimate collection of her personal writings and speeches opened last year at the Library of Congress.
The President’s full statement is below.