Tuesday afternoon, as Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill were getting into battle mode in advance of the evening’s State of the Union address, House and Senate leadership sent out some news to soothe the partisan wounds.
More than seven years after President George W. Bush put his signature on a bill to place a statue of Rosa Parks in Statuary Hall, the likeness of the civil rights hero will arrive at the Capitol on Feb. 27.
Though the advisory was sent out through the office of House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, the notice was co-signed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
“Additional details regarding the dedication of the statue will be announced closer to the date of the ceremony,” the advisory reads.
The statue of Parks will be the first to represent an African-American woman in the Capitol as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection.
In 1955, in Montgomery, Ala., she was arrested for refusing a bus driver’s orders to give up her seat to a white passenger. Her act of civil disobedience gave birth to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and other pivotal acts in the struggle for equal rights and the end of segregation. She was later an aide to Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., for more than 20 years.
Shortly after Parks’ death in Oct. 2005, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., introduced the legislation calling for a statue in her honor to be placed in Statuary Hall. Bush signed the bill into law two months later.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.