Rosa Parks Honored with US Capital Statue

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Capitol building added an important new statue to its collection Wednesday, one that helps better tell America's intricate story.

Rosa Parks is known for what she refused to do: give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus so a white passenger could sit down.

Fifty-seven years after her simple gesture helped spark the civil rights movement, Parks made history again as her image and story was welcomed into the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall.

"It's the first statue of an African-American woman to be placed in this Capitol," Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

Parks is an unlikely American heroine.

"We celebrate a seamstress, slight in stature but mighty in courage," President Obama said at the ceremony unveiling the statue.

When she wouldn't give up her seat, Parks was arrested. Days later a new pastor in town by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. stood by her as she challenged the charges.

A boycott of city buses began. Montgomery's black citizens walked where they needed to go.

"Three-hundred eighty-five days after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat the boycott ended," Obama said. "Black men and women and children re-boarded the buses of Montgomery, newly desegregated, and sat in whatever seat happened to be open.

Parks sculpture was crafted by California artist Eugene Daub, who chose to have her sitting, but not on a bus seat.

Instead she's rooted to her environment, making it clear she's not to be moved.

"This is kind of a super woman in a way in Clark Kent's clothing," Daub explained. "She's this courageous warrior for racial injustice and yet she sits quietly in mid-century dress and is looking, for all intents and purposes, as an average American citizen."

"When we make 'In God We Trust' not just a motto, but a mission, as Rosa Parks did, any burdon can be lifted," Boehner said.

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Jennifer Wishon

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Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.