Upon hearing about Rosa Parks' death, Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright said he was saddened, but not surprised. Parks had been in failing health for several years.
Bright said he remembers hearing about Parks when he was a small child growing up in rural Alabama. But he didn't meat the seamstress-turned civil rights icon until the opening of the Rosa Parks Library and Museum five years ago.
"The first time I met her was when we celebrated the 45th anniversary of the bus boycott," Bright said. "She was a sweet, gentle woman. I'll never forget it. I had a picture taken and I still have the picture in my possession now."
This December, Montgomery will begin a year-long series of events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the bus boycott. The mayor says Parks was never expected to attend any of the events and they will go on as scheduled. But he said the celebration will take on a more somber mood in the wake of her passing.
Even though Parks lived out her senior years in Detroit, Bright said he will also consider Parks a resident of Montgomery. He said she will be remembered for not only for the changes she brought about in the capital city, but for changing ways of thinking around the world.