Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper along with Reps. Terri Sewell and Joyce Beatty introduced the Rosa Parks Day Act, a bill to honor civil rights leader Rosa Parks by designating a new federal holiday. California and Missouri recognize Rosa Parks Day on her birthday, February 4. Ohio and Oregon celebrate on the day she was arrested, December 1. This act wants to make the holiday recognized in all states.
Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama when she refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white man and was charged with violating Montgomery’s segregation law. Her arrest inspired the Montgomery Bus boycott – a major turning point in the civil rights movement. She was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, and Congress recognized Rosa Parks as the “first lady of civil rights.”
Cooper stated, “Nashville led the nonviolent Civil Rights Movement, but there may not have even been a movement were it not for the bravery of a young woman from Alabama named Rosa Parks. There is no more fitting or deserving person in American history to award the honor of a new national holiday than Rosa Parks.”
“On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks sat so that this nation could stand up for the values that our democracy holds so dear,” said Rep. Sewell. “Her quiet, dignified courage helped inspire a civil rights movement that changed this country for the better. As the U.S. Representative for Montgomery, I’m so proud to introduce the Rosa Parks Day Act to make December 1st a national holiday in her honor. Such a day will ensure the memory of her brave sacrifice lives on in America’s story for generations to come.”
Beatty commented, “Through her willingness to sit, Rosa Parks stood up for what she believed in. As a state legislator, I was proud to lead the push to make the Buckeye State the first state to officially recognize Rosa Parks Day. It’s now time for us to come together as a nation to honor this American hero through a new national holiday.”