Obama to attend unveiling of Rosa Parks statue at Capitol

February 20, 2013

President Obama will head to the Capitol next week for the dedication of a new statue honoring civil rights icon Rosa Parks, a White House official confirmed Wednesday.

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Courtesy William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives

The statue – which will be the first of an African American woman to be placed in the Capitol -- will be unveiled next Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Statuary Hall, the exhibition space that sits just south of the Capitol Rotunda.

“As you know, most statues in the Capitol are donated by the individual states,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently wrote in a letter inviting Obama to the unveiling. “This tribute, however, was unanimously authorized by the 109th Congress.”

They added: “Indeed, this is a national statue and this ceremony will be a national moment, an occasion to recount a watershed event in our history and reaffirm our capacity to confront injustice and lift each other up.”

In November 2005, one month after Parks’ death, the House and Senate unanimously voted to commission a statue of her. As The Post’s Darryl Fears noted at the time, the civil rights leader was the first woman and the first African American to lie in honor in the Rotunda.

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