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SPLC statement on Alabama house passing bill honoring Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks is a national hero, but she is not recognized that way in her home state of Alabama.

Her simple act of defiance on Dec. 1, 1955 – refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus to a white man – sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which set the stage for the civil rights movement across the United States.

Parks’ life encompassed so much more than her seminal moment on that bus. From investigating the brutal rape of a black woman in Abbeville, Alabama, on behalf of the NAACP, to serving as a longtime staffer for a member of Congress, she has been rightly honored on the national stage.

Parks earned a Presidential Medal of Freedom. A statue of her – dedicated posthumously – sits comfortably in the halls of the U.S. Congress, which has named her the "first lady of civil rights."

However, Alabama has fallen short in recognizing Parks’ many contributions to society.

By naming Dec. 1 as Rosa Parks Day in her honor, this bill rightly would allow Alabama to begin to recognize her in the same way that she has been honored nationwide.