New Montgomery artwork honors Rosa Parks

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 5:29 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2021 at 6:27 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Wednesday was Rosa Parks Day in Montgomery. Sixty-six years ago on Dec. 1, 1955, Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat on a city bus to a white man. To memorialize the occasion, and her legacy, a new work of art was unveiled in Parks’ honor in front of the Rosa Parks Museum downtown.

Before Parks became the mother of the modern-day civil rights movement, she worked on Maxwell Air Force Base, and Col. Eries Mentzer, the first Black commander of the base, described Parks’ experience.

“You might just say Maxwell opened my eyes up,” explained Mentzer. “It was an alternative to the ugly policies of Jim Crow.”

Parks’ legacy first started when she walked onto that bus. Instead of standing up when she was told to, she stayed in her seat and stood her ground.

“The bus boycott demonstrated the potential for a nonviolent mass protest to successfully challenge racial segregation and serve as an example for other campaigns that followed” said Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed.

And in the spot where Parks was arrested and the peaceful protest began, there’s now a work of art.

“Ian (Mangum) made this sculpture out of black powder-coated steel. He wanted it to be resilient through the generations,” Mentzer said.

When viewed at just the right angle, the posts reveal Parks’ face, and a mindset, both of which can’t be moved.

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