Congressman Richard E. Neal released the following statement after a statue of Civil Rights leader Rosa Parks was unveiled in the United States Capitol Building today. President Barack Obama joined congressional leaders from both parties on Capitol Hill for a historic unveiling ceremony. Rosa Parks was also awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor an American citizen can receive, in June 1999.
"Rosa Parks is not only a pioneer in the Civil Rights Movement, she is an American hero who deserves to have a lasting tribute in the United States Capitol. With extraordinary strength, courage and dignity, she helped change the course of history in the United States for the better. By refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, Rosa Parks inspired people from all walks of life to come together to oppose injustice and inequality in America. It is only fitting that "the first lady of civil rights" is the first African American woman to be honored with a life-size statue in the Capitol. Having met her, and having stood at the same bus stop in Alabama where she made history, I believe it is an honor long overdue," said Congressman Richard E. Neal.