The U.S. Postal Service will release the Rosa Parks commemorative “forever” stamp today, and the civil rights icon will be honored at a celebration at the King Center in Atlanta. The stamp is being released on what would have been Parks’ 100th birthday.
The unveiling of the stamp and the ceremony at the center will feature women of the Civil Rights Movement, including Bernice King, King Center CEO; SCLC first lady Cathelean Steele; SCLC Women President Evelyn Lowery; Janice Mathis, Rainbow/PUSH Executive Director; Helen Butler, People’s Agenda executive director; former state Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam, and the esteemed Christine King Farris, among other civil rights icons and luminaries.
Parks was an extraordinary American activist who became an iconic figure in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1955, in Montgomery, Ala., Parks courageously refused to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a white man, defying the discriminatory laws of the time.
The response to Parks’ arrest was a boycott of the Montgomery bus system that lasted for more than a year and became an international cause célèbre. In 1956, in a related case, the United States Supreme Court affirmed that the segregation of the Montgomery buses was unconstitutional.
The Parks stamp will be part of the Black Heritage Stamp Series, which commemorates the accomplishments of African-Americans throughout American history.
The Black Heritage series began in 1978 with a stamp that honored American abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Each fall, the honoree for the following year is announced.
“Mrs. Parks was not just known for sitting down on that Montgomery bus. She was also known for working with children,” says Brenda Davenport, founder and coordinator of the Rosa Parks Centennial Tribute Committee. “She had the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute in Atlanta, where over 500 young people have been touched by Mrs. Parks through participating in the program. Once she sat down, the rest of the world stood up. That one act started the modern day Civil Rights Movement — bringing us Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many, many more.”
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