Rosa Parks Statue Unveiled

Speaker Boehner starts the unveiling.

House Speaker John Boehner leads the unveiling of the Rosa Parks statue.

Congressional leaders and the President.

Congressional leaders and President Obama unveil the statue of Rosa Parks.

statue of Rosa Parks can now be seen in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

The statue of Rosa Parks can now be seen in the Capitol's Statuary Hall.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Representative James Clyburn, and Elaine Steele, a longtime friend of Rosa Parks.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Representative James Clyburn, and Elaine Steele, a longtime friend of Rosa Parks.

moving the tree into place

House Speaker John Boehner addresses the audience.

Star on top of the tree

President Obama addresses the audience.

A statue of late civil rights activist Rosa Parks now stands in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall. In 1955, Parks was arrested after she refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white passenger. Her case became an important symbol of the civil rights movement.

House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama presided over the ceremony, which was attended by hundreds of dignitaries, including members of Parks’ family. “All men and women are created equal,” Speaker Boehner said. “Some grow to be larger than life.”  President Obama added: “Rosa Parks tells us there is always something we can do. We all have responsibilities to ourselves and others.”

Ms. Parks was honored by Congress in 1999 with the Congressional Gold Medal, and she was the first woman to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda when she died in 2005.

The statue of Ms. Parks, which is the first of an African-American woman to reside in the Capitol, depicts her act of defiance: sitting, clutching her purse.