Washington honors Rosa Parks with new statue


US President Barack Obama applauds after unveiling a statue of Rosa Parks during an unveiling in Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill February 27, 2013 in Washington, DC.



More than fifty years after she refused to give up her seat on a bus, civil rights legend Rosa Parks has been honored with a statue in Washington, DC.

President Obama spoke at the unveiling ceremony attended by dozens of Parks' relatives and members of Congress, reports NBC News.

"Rosa Parks’ singular act of disobedience launched a movement," Obama said of Parks' refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger on an Alabama bus.

"The tired feet of those who walked the dusty roads of Montgomery helped a nation see that to which it had once been blind."

Parks is the first black woman to be honored with such a statue in the Capitol, reports the New York Times. The statue captures Parks as she sat, waiting to be arrested on Dec 1, 1955.

"In a single moment, with the simplest of gestures, she helped change America and change the world," Obama said.

"And today, she takes her rightful place among those who shaped this nation’s course."

Parks' work in the civil rights movement helped desegregate the country and spur passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

The ceremony came on the same day that the Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to the landmark law. 

The justices are considering the ongoing need for a key provision that requires states with a history of discrimination to get approval before making any changes to the election process, reports AP.