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Rosa Parks Statue unveiled

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Updated: 2/27/2013 3:51 pm
WASHINGTON -- A part of the U.S. Capitol that's home to more than 100 statues including ones of William Jennings Bryan and Daniel Webster is now home to one saluting Rosa Parks.

Called by some the "mother of the modern civil rights movement", Parks and her legacy were honored today with the statue's unveiling in Washington, DC.

A woman, who wouldn't take a back seat more than 50 years ago, today received a prominent place of honor in the U.S. Capitol.

President Obama and Congressional leaders came together to unveil a 9 foot statue of Rosa Parks.

"In a single moment, with the simplest of gestures, she helped change America and change the world," said Obama.

That gesture came in 1955,the 42 year old seamstress' refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger on board a crowded bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

Parks' subsequent arrest and the 381 day bus system boycott that followed proved to be seminal moments in the civil rights movement.

"Entire generations of Americans have been able to grow up in a nation where segregated buses only exist in museums," said Senator Mitch McConnell (R) Kentucky.

Parks passed away in 2005 at the age of 92 having received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, but today's ceremony leaves an even more public and permanent recognition of Parks' legacy.

Parks' statue is the first of an African-American woman to be placed inside the capitol.

-- Mark Barger, NBC News
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