|City of Stone Mountain honors civil rights icon Rosa Parks|
|Friday, 01 March 2013 11:46 | Written by Joshua Smith|
The historic city of Stone Mountain was one of several cities around the country recently to honor the late civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who would have turned 100 in February. Parks died in 2005 at the age of 92 from natural causes.
Officials unveiled a commemorative postage stamp at City Hall bearing Parks’ image, remembering her as a brave woman who helped to integrate the public buses in Montgomery, AL after she refused in 1955 to give up her seat to a white man.
“It was a moving and historic unveiling for me. Rosa Parks was an extraordinary woman of courage,” said DeKalb Commissioner Stan Watson, who spoke at the unveiling, where On Common Ground News was the only media in attendance.
The unveiling in Stone Mountain marked a significant chapter in the city’s dark past.
“Growing up in this area, I used to hear the old folks talk about how Stone Mountain was a place a black man wouldn’t want to be caught in after dark. Look how far Stone Mountain has come,” Stone Mountain Postmaster Craig W. Eberhart said. “From a city that hosted some of the largest KKK rallies to a city that is now a diverse community honoring a civil rights legend is a full circle experience to me.”
The Rosa Parks stamp, based on a 1950’s portrait of Parks, is part of the Postal Service’s “Forever” series. Forever stamps never lose their value as a first class stamp, even if the price increases.
Sone Mountain’s unveiling included an a cappella solo performance of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna’ Come” by the Rev. McKenzie C. Wynn; a rendition of Martin Luther King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” by the Drama Club of the Champion School Stone Mountain; and remarks from DeKalb County Commissioners Stan Watson and Sharon Barnes-Sutton.
In Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama joined Congressional leaders and members of Parks’ family in dedicating a 9-foot-tall bronze statue of Rosa Parks. The statue is on display in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall and is a part of 180-piece collection at the Capitol.
Some other historic figures enshrined in the collection include: Helen Keller, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Samuel Adams and George Washington.
“This morning, we celebrate a seamstress, slight in stature, but mighty in courage. She defied the odds, and she defied injustice,” said President Obama at the Feb. 27 statue dedication. “In a single moment with the simplest of gestures, she helped change America and change the world. Today, Rosa Parks takes her rightful place among those who’ve shaped this Nation’s course.”
Parks is the first African American to be honored with a full-bodied statue at the U.S. Capitol. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. When she died in 2005, she became the first woman and the second African-American to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C.