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Honoring the Life of and Expressing Condolences of the Senate on the Passing of Rosa Parks

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, it is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that my wife Julianne and I learned of the passing of Mrs. Rosa Parks. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Parks family at this sorrowful time.

Mrs. Rosa Parks, ``The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,'' is an international symbol of freedom. She stood for what she believed in, and changed our Nation's history. Her act of courage inspired so many during the civil rights movement and continues to inspire people today.

Rosa Parks sat quietly on a bus in Montgomery, AL 50 years ago, and refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. Because of the nonviolent protest that Mrs. Parks displayed on December 1, 1955 our entire Nation turned its attention to the gross indecencies that were affecting the black community.

Her solitary action set into play the revolutionary 381-day bus boycott that was organized by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. At the time not many Americans had heard of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. His protest and monumental following brought about the November 1956 Supreme Court Ruling that segregation on transportation is illegal, and in 1964 the Civil Rights Act, which outlawed racial discrimination in the U.S.

Rosa Parks attended Alabama State College, and upon graduation worked as a seamstress and housekeeper. She and her husband, Raymond Parks, were active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP. In 1943 Mrs. Parks was elected Secretary of the Montgomery Chapter of the NAACP, and later became its youth leader. She was also involved in the Montgomery Voters League, an organization that helped black citizens become registered to vote.

Rosa Parks continued to set an example for our Nation in 1987 when she founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development. The Institute teaches young people the history of the civil rights movement through an annual summer program called ``Pathways to Freedom.''

Rosa Parks was one of the most significant figures in the 20th century, and appropriately received hundreds of awards and honors, including the Medal of Freedom Award, presented by President Clinton in 1996. Mrs. Parks will be deeply missed, and her legacy will forever be remembered.

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