- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 15, 2005

President Bush and the Senate are working to ensure that the legacy of Rosa Parks is remembered by renaming a Michigan post office and commissioning a statue of the civil rights icon inside the Capitol.

Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, introduced a resolution to have a rendering of Mrs. Parks placed within the halls of Congress. The measure was referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration.

“Rosa Parks’ life proved that one American with courage can make a difference,” Mr. McConnell said. “She did not set out to become a hero on the evening of December 1, 1955. Her simple, profound act of civil disobedience was the spark that ignited the modern civil-rights movement.”

President Bush has signed into law a bill designating the federal building at 333 Mount Elliott St. in Detroit as the Rosa Parks Federal Building.

The statue in the U.S. Capitol would be an accompaniment to the state statues, said Robert Steurer, spokesman for Mr. McConnell, referring to congressional rules that limit each state to two sponsored renderings in Statuary Hall.

“No state will have to give up a statue,” he said.

If the measure is enacted, Mrs. Parks would be the first black person to be honored with a statue in the nation’s Capitol. The Senate commissioned a rendering of Martin Luther King 24 years ago, but in the form of a memorial bust.

Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., Illinois Democrat, introduced a companion bill in the House. He said no other American is more deserving of the honor.

“Her dignified leadership inspired others to engage in courageous acts,” Mr. Jackson said.

“When those in Eastern Europe struggling for independence from the Soviet Union sang ‘We Shall Overcome,’ they were paying tribute to Rosa Parks,” he said.

The Senate bill has 32 co-sponsors and could come to the floor before the Thanksgiving recess, staffers said.

Mr. Dodd said Mrs. Parks’ “solitary action proved that one person, through nonviolent action, can change the course of history.”

“Fifty years ago, through a simple but brave act of defiance, Rosa Parks became the guiding light for the Montgomery bus boycott and a catalyst for a major chapter in the civil rights movement.”

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