Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called Rosa Parks the spark that ignited the modern civil rights movement. This morning, President Obama and Congressional leaders helped unveil her statue to stand in the U.S. Capitol as a permanent honor. The bronze statue, 9 foot tall on a black granite base, is the only full-size statue of an African American in the capitol.
In 2005, after Rosa Parks passed away Congress commissioned a statue of the civil rights hero, who kickstarted a national movement in 1955 by refusing to give up her seat at the front of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her act launched a 380-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system and galvanized protests and civil rights demonstrations across the country.
It was the first time in 140 years that Congress had commissioned a new statue. Today, eight years later, it has taken its place among the hallowed halls of the nation's Capitol. President Obama helped unveil the statue
Elaine Steele, one of her closest friends, told CBS Parks was not physically tired the day she decided to take her stand, "just tired of being pushed around." Steele said her decision was a spur of the moment one, not planned. When the bus driver said he was going to have her arrested she simply responded, "You may do that."
He did, and the rest became history.